September 2015 marks the 3 year anniversary of Ochiai Music Together. At times I thought I would not reach this point. Since passing the teacher training course and setting up my own center in 2012 I have been on a non-stop learning curve. At first, one struggles to even remember the words to the songs let alone all the other aspects you need to think about in leading a class. Becoming a good teacher really is a continuous effort. I have come a long way in three years, but am still at the beginning of a long journey in my teaching career.
The business aspect of running my own center has brought other challenges. It takes a lot more time than I originally imagined, to keep up with all the administrative tasks, scouting classroom locations; and advertising and recruiting new families is the most challenging task. At times I often questioned whether it was feasible to continue OMT. As any small business owner knows, sometimes small failures can really get you down and make you lose faith in your own ability.
I heard there is a common saying in Japan that you must stick at something for 3 years before you decide to quit. And for me that lesson has certainly rung true. I am very proud of how far my center has come, and how my classes have grown in size over the last 3 years. I am beginning to see a wonderful community emerge, as the families of OMT get to know each other and share this special time in their lives – the difficult yet wonderful early years of raising children. Seeing babies grow into toddlers and toddlers grow into preschoolers has brought me so much warmth and joy as a Music Together teacher. And when a family brings along a newborn sibling to class they are truly welcomed by all the mums and dads and little ones in our group. Teaching a class gives me a buzz that lasts all day long, and I cant help but smile 🙂 I consider myself very lucky to be able to see everyone once a week, and sing and dance with them. What great fun we have!
OMT is my business, but this early childhood music education program has always been very personal to me as well. I first discovered Music Together as a parent when my eldest daughter Hazel was 1 year old. Taking her to class became the highlight of my week and I was amazed at the impact it had on her outside of class too. I was totally fascinated by the program and this led me to train to become a teacher myself. At the time I was a stay-at-home-mum and I considered myself a bit of a mum-preneur starting my own business alongside raising my daughter. Then soon after I started teaching I became pregnant with Rose. Some mornings I felt so sick, it was a struggle to not throw-up while singing the Hello Song (ha ha). During my first year as a teacher, Rose was there with me in my tummy hearing all the music. And when she was born she was most comfortable when she was listening to music. I often joke she is my Music Together baby. Her Japanese name is Ayane 彩音, and we read the kanji to mean many `different sounds`.
I dont`t just `teach` Music Together, I `live` it everyday with my own daughters, and I can`t say enough good things about what a positive impact it has had on our family life.
I would like to say a big thank you to all the families who have joined my center over the last three years. Thank you for sharing all those wonderful musical moments with me. May you always remember our classes fondly, like I do.
As I enter the 4th year of OMT, there is a lot to look forward to. I am very pleased to be joined by my good friend Fumi Ito, who will be teaching a class in our new venue in Takadanobaba. I will also be continuing with my guitar lessons, and in December I will be taking another teacher training course to further support my professional development as a Music Together practitioner.
Autumn Semester starts this week on the 24th September, and I return to the Fiddle Collection having come full circle on the 9 collection curriculum. My egg shakers are all polished, scarves are all packed, and the octoband is just itching to be stretched out into all conceivable directions. Can’t wait to start ….
Here`s to the future! Gambarimasu
Warm wishes, Gillian