Thankful for My Teachers

I’ve been rereading The Mindfulness Revolution: Leading Psychologists, Scientists, Artists, and Meditation Teachers on the Power of Mindfulness in Daily Life edited by Barry Boyce and the editors of the Shambhala Sun.

The Mindfulness Revolution Edited by Barry Boyce and the editors of the Shambhala Sun

I blogged about this book in the past, specifically in reaction to the chapter “Making Music” by Madeline Bruser because that chapter had great tips for overcoming stage fright. (Check out my blog post about that chapter, here.)

Something I didn’t discuss in the aforementioned blog post was that Bruser emphasized the importance of reflecting upon all of the teachers that helped you get where you are today.

I thought about all of the teachers that have helped me be the musician that I am today, and two of those teachers truly stand out. I want to tell you about Mrs. R & Mr. P. 🙂

Mrs. R

Mrs. R  was my middle school music teacher/choir conductor. She had great energy, was extremely kind, and always had a way of making every student enjoy music class (even the students who were “too cool” for music class 😛 ).  In middle school, I was really shy, and when I sang, I struggled with projecting. Mrs. R taught me how to change the way I breathed when I sang in order to project and produce a fuller sound. She also taught me how to develop confidence as a singer. She challenged me to overcome my stage fright, and one way she helped me challenge myself was when she gave me a SOLO for one of our concerts. 😮 It was SCARY! But I did it! 😀

It was sad to move on from elementary school and leave behind such a WONDERFUL teacher! 😦

Mr. P

Luckily, when I went to high school, I got to learn from another extremely influential teacher! I began playing the flute in middle school, and it wasn’t an instrument I felt especially confident or skilled at. I enjoyed it, but I remember being scared about entering high school band and playing with a bunch of high school students wondering how I would compare to them. 😯 Mr. P changed my understanding of how band class “should be.” Mr. P was an extremely talented musician, who WROTE the arrangements that our band performed, and who always wanted us to do our best. If you were not serious about music, you were in the wrong class. 😉 Mr. P was a lot of fun and balanced that with regularly challenging you to give more than you thought you could give! 😛 Despite my opinion of my skills as a flutist, I recognized that Mr. P thought I had talent as I began moving up chairs in the flute section. 😀 It was so nice to once again learn from someone like Mrs. R, someone who LOVES music, sees your potential, challenges you, and teaches you how to be the artist that you have the skills to be!

Here is a photo of me from my junior year of high school. In this photo, I am singing a song at the school’s spaghetti dinner. Singing a song BY MYSELF in front of a room FULL of people was a HUGE milestone for me! Thanks to Mrs. R, I was able to do this. ❤

Allison Merten High School Spaghetti Dinner

Also, at that same spaghetti dinner, I performed a song on my GUITAR! (It was actually a cover of “The Wayward Wind” as performed by Patsy Cline.) Although I only played the flute in band, the coaching that I received from Mr. P helped me be a better musician all around. He helped me recognize that I did have potential as an instrumentalist. Most importantly, he helped me gain confidence as an instrumentalist! Thanks to Mr. R, I was able to perform on my guitar for the first time in front of a group of people! ❤

Allison Merten Spaghetti Dinner High School

Sadly, junior year of high school was the last year of my participation in band. 😥 I had talked to Mr. P about playing guitar in band during my senior year of high school, but unfortunately I was unable to take band class during my senior year because it didn’t fit in my schedule. 😦

Mr. P was sad to hear that music wasn’t a part of my life that year, and he was concerned that I was permanently going to remove it from my life. His concern was valid because I didn’t do much with music during college…and it wasn’t until 2012, when I started this blog, started posting videos, and started working on my first album, TEMPTATION, that music truly became a part of my life again.

I am TRULY grateful for Mrs. R and Mr. P. They both changed my life and helped me become the singer/musician that I am today! ❤


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