Although no one knows for sure, it is believed that Confucius spoke these words For me, these are words that have always resonated as a musician and as an educator of music and performing arts. To only tell or show a pupil music, drama or dance is insufficient to say the least. To truly understand, a pupil must be involved in the creation of the art form. This is not about talent. It is about education. Every child and every adult is a creative being and has the innate ability to produce something meaningful. It is our job as educators to provide the opportunity for a pupil to discover that ability within themselves.
Participating in the arts offers another incredible opportunity. It helps pupils to understand and internalize the fact that our individual efforts, no matter what level our ability from beginner to advanced, can raise up an entire group to become something bigger and more harmonious than we ever imagined possible. To involve as many pupils in music as possible, we have created an orchestra in school. On the first day of our orchestra rehearsal, it became clear that we had a group of pupils with a large range of abilities, but not necessarily pupils who had the same level of knowledge about music. Some pupils had played and studied an instrument for many years. Some pupils had never studied music but had parents that wished them to experience it. We had more than 10 pupils that played the same instrument (piano) and only a few that played an actual orchestral instrument. This presented an incredible challenge to us as teachers. How would we take this group and manage to create a harmonious whole?