This week, parents across the country have sent their kids back to school, and education is on everyone’s mind. Not only for school, but for those who enroll their children in music lessons – it’s back to the grind for the kids who must practise.
Most of the composers we know and love today were teachers back in their day, often to supplement their income. They either actively taught, or their compositions profoundly influenced the composers who followed them.
Antonio Vivaldi was a prolific composer and violin instructor at the Devout Hospital of Mercy orphanage. He had a strong influence on JS Bach, who arranged some of his music.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, taught by his own father Leopold, was a busy composer and musician, who was rumoured to have given Beethoven some lessons. Beethoven admired Mozart and often quoted his melodies in his music. Beethoven also studied with Antonio Salieri, another composer who also taught Schubert and Liszt.
Gabriel Faure was a church organist and a Romantic French composer. He was a mentor to composers; his most famous pupil was Maurice Ravel.
One of the most famous music teachers of all time is Nadia Boulanger. You may not have heard of her, but you may have heard of some of her students: Leonard Bernstein, Astor Piazzola, Quincy Jones, and Daniel Barenboim. She was also the first woman to conduct the BBC Symphony, Boston Symphony, and the New York Philharmonic.
Music teachers are also “back to school” this week, with their own students who all return to lessons with the disclaimer: “I didn’t have a chance to practise much over the summer.”
Thank you to all music teachers – no matter what career the kids choose, you are changing their lives for the better!