There are so many things I struggle with. Still. There are so many things I could do better as a teacher and as a musician every day and in every way. There are things I ignore or dismiss and so many bad habits I continue to cultivate.
But I am really proud of the work I've done on this blog.
Having blogged for decades, dare I say it has taken me most of my life to find my voice. The reason that this blogging venture gets any attention at all is because I have undertaken this journey from a specific point of view and not just that of Another Blogger.
Of course, my most specific and possibly valuable point of view is that of a teacher. It's also the most dangerous one to expose to the world. For years, I hid as much as I could on social media. I wanted to interact with the world, and with people I came across, but I did not want to be exposed. I wanted to live my private life, enjoy myself, and share with people as I saw fit. This was always difficult, however, because I always wanted to ensure my voice was heard.
When I told my graduate advisor that I wanted to do a large-scale project on popular songs full of teachable material & specific music theory concepts, he suggested I make a website. I thought, okay. Sounds good. As I developed my project (circa 2013-2014), a friend of mine suggested I make a wiki instead. I found myself in the summer of 2014, spending the precious hours between the end of the school year and my plane trip London for my final semester of grad school frantically writing about the accomplishments of the Bee Gees and staying up all night compiling lists & completing wiki entries.
My project seemed well-received, although because the full wiki was behind a password wall, it was difficult to access. I came home at the start of August and had my daughter within a year.
After less than a year of great difficulty transitioning back into being a working music director and also a mom, I decided to finally start this blog. Other recent ventures into writing had gone south very quickly, and at some point I finally decided to write about both curriculum material I'd started to develop as well as my experiences as a teacher.
It was pretty terrifying at first, but I've been lucky enough to find a small but vital community that embraces what I do and how I talk about my job, when often details of such job are supposed to go undiscussed. I've been on social media long enough to know what to say and when, so maybe 9 years into my career was a good time to start talking about it publicly.
I also feel lucky that there are people in Azerbaijan who decide to Google the time signature for The Stranglers' "Golden Brown".
So here we are, 2 years later, and the blog has seen over 13,000 hits. I've also started a public (and sometimes overly active) Twitter account -- @rebelmusicteach -- which I created with the intent of promoting my blog. In the meantime, however, this experience with Twitter has taught me an incredible amount as well as given me a bevy of new friends, most of them educators on the journey as well.
Oddly enough, the site that I've used to host my underseen "pop classroom" wiki is going offline in July. I'm about halfway through transferring all of the writing on those pages to Google Drive, but it seems fitting to move on. As I was reading through some of the entries, I felt truly proud of myself. I felt like I'd accomplished something, and as though this popular music curriculum project will be something to expand and hopefully assist people.
I have to thank everyone, also, whom I've met through the Association of Popular Music Education (see you in Tennessee!) and through Little Kids Rock. Both organizations have inspired me so and made me believe again in long held dreams. I've been working on my own stuff for years, but I feel like I am at the very start of a tremendous path of gaining knowledge from these two organizations.
Thank you for sticking with me on this journey as I've both written about songs to study in class as well as stuck out my own neck in being publicly and unabashedly a teacher.