Recognize an Educator Who Shaped Your Life


In honor of National Teacher Appreciation Day, we’re inviting you to share stories of music educators who helped shape your life. In appreciation, we’ll send a Starbucks gift card to the first 50 people who post such a story before 3 p.m. eastern time on Friday, May 8, either as a comment here, on Twitter, or on our Facebook page. In addition, one participant will win a SmartMusic educator package including a SmartMusic educator subscription, 5 student subscriptions, and a copy of Finale 2014.

What kind of stories do we have in mind? Below is an example from my coworker Kait Creamer:

My life changed forever in the five years I spent with Dr. Scott Stewart’s Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony. I looked forward to every Monday night rehearsal largely because of Dr. Stewart’s boundless enthusiasm and exuberant passion for the music. He took the time not only to teach us to play beautifully together as an ensemble, but also to tell the stories behind the music. I’ll never forget him excitedly sharing Percy Grainger’s “throw the ball over a house and catch it on the other side” trick as we prepared to rehearse “The Gum-Suckers March.” Many of Dr. Stewart’s stories will stick with me forever.

But the most valuable thing Dr. Stewart ever gave me was a piece of advice, doubtlessly offered as end-of-the-year wisdom for the graduating class. He said, “It doesn’t matter so much what your degree is in or how much you are paid. If you work hard and you do what you love, you will find happiness.” Though many people have said it before, those words will stick with me forever because of the man who said them. Dr. Stewart lives those words every single day, pushing himself to the limit so his students can experience the joy of a truly magical performance. I’ll be forever grateful to have had an educator and a friend like him.

Kait can be seen above with Dr. Stewart and her husband Andrew, whom she met through the AYWS. (She wasn’t exaggerating when she said those years were life-changing.) Your recognition needn’t be that long, but I hope it communicates the idea: to recognize a music educator who made a difference in your life, like band director Paul Melby and guitar instructor Dan Kuhn did in mine.

Feel free to forward our gift card to your mentor, or enjoy using it as you think of them.

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