I love all of my students dearly, but inevitably some students become extra special to you over the years. As a clarinet teacher, I work with the same students every semester of their degree program, allowing me to really get to know each of them, to see them at their best and their worst- just as they get to see me, as well. It is such a joy to watch them grow into even more amazing human beings over the years. Today, two of those extra special clarinet students graduated, both beautiful inside and out, kind-hearted, intelligent, driven to succeed- the kind of women who will leave their mark on the world. I thought about what I would want to share with them as they head out into the next chapter of their lives, and decided on the following.
- Take a moment to savor your success. Today, don’t worry about what comes next, about decisions you have to make- just celebrate the milestone you have achieved in earning your degree. You have done something incredibly difficult and special that many people only dream of.
- Remember the things that got you to this place- hard work, dedication, heart, a wonderful sense of humor, family and friends who love you. Hold on to each of them- they will help you achieve every goal you ever set for yourself.
- You are enough, you are beautiful, you are strong, you are perfect just as you are. Don’t ever let anyone try to convince you otherwise. In fact, never give anyone the power to make you feel less than. Ever. (And if they do, remember that I am certified in kickboxing!)
- Life will throw many challenges your way. Remember that each one of those challenges comes to you to teach you something. Do your best to be open to the lessons so that you can move on with your life. If you don’t, the universe will keep sending you that challenge again and again until you face it and learn what you needed to learn in the first place.
- Love is our greatest gift in life, both giving and receiving it. When you find real love, cherish it, give it 100% of your heart. Real love can’t be forced, and it shouldn’t seem like work- if it does, then something is wrong. You are worth real love. Hold out for it- you won’t regret it.
- No matter what, do what you love most in life, whatever it is that makes your heart sing. The old adage is true, “If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.” My father told me I would never work if I went into music, but I knew I had to follow my dream, and I’m so grateful that I did. Believe, do the hard work, “practice your ass off” (as Kal Opperman would say), and you will find a way. I have never regretted my decision to go into music- not for one single moment.
- Mr. Opperman’s famous quote, “Practice and hope…but never hope more than you practice” doesn’t just pertain to clarinet playing. If you want to achieve something in life, you have to show up and do the real work, the hard work. It will always be worth it.
- Know that I have your back. I am always here to cheer you on, to offer advice when you need it, to listen to your joys and to your sorrows. Next to your family, I will be your biggest cheerleader, knowing with all of my heart that two wonderful young women are going out into the world to make it a better place. What better gift could any teacher ask for?
All my love,