Someday, hopefully soon, this pandemic will be over. The world will get back to what we all remember and long for. Kids will once again be crammed into band rooms and on stages like sardines in a can. We’ll once again be able to “high five” students who meet with success. Band buses will again take to the streets as part of amazing adventures. The sounds of pieces being played in auditoriums will fill the air. We will once again have to separate Jim and Sue, but now it will be because they can’t stop pestering one another, rather than for social-distancing reasons. We will once again be able to see the mask-free smile of a child who just made their first magical sound on an instrument. That day will come. It has to. It will.

And when that day comes, and the history of this time is written, we will all remember those days that are thankfully in the past. We will savor what we took for granted. We will cherish that which we thought couldn’t be taken from us. We will embrace much that we assumed would always be. We will remember. But I find myself asking: What will my students remember about their time with me? How will they remember this school year? Throughout my career, but ever-more as I get older, I’ve often worried and wondered about what my students will think in years to come. Will they think it was enjoyable, fruitful, challenging, and rewarding? Will they know how much I cared about them?

But this pandemic has brought those concerns even more powerfully to mind. As always, they are watching, listening, and observing. So, I wonder, looking back after this is over, what will my students think? What will they remember about my class? What life-lessons will they take with them from how I acted? My attitude will surely be remembered far more than any piece we played. They will unquestionably recall my disposition far more than any technique they learned. It is a daunting and weighty thought. But it will happen. Our students will take with them a reflection of who we were in those darkest of times. I just want to handle that “mirror” carefully and make certain it is as shiny as possible. Daunting indeed.

Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education
KHS America

About the Author

Dr. Boonshaft, Director of Education for KHS America, is the author of the critically acclaimed best-selling books Teaching Music with Passion, Teaching Music with Purpose, and Teaching Music with Promise. Dr. Boonshaft is currently on the faculty of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, where he is Professor of Music. He was honored by the National Association for Music Education and Music For All as the first recipient of the “George M. Parks Award for Leadership in Music Education.”