03. 2019 763-432-9713 www.mnschoolofmusic.com
THE MONTHLY MUSICIAN
WHAT MY CHILDREN TAUGHT ME A FAMILY SCHOOL
First and foremost, Caleb is a star pupil. From piano performances to his grasp of music theory, he has the same level of ability at 9 that I had in my 20s. Watching Caleb’s growth as a musician has been a phenomenal thing for me to experience, and I can’t wait to see where his young life takes him. If you ask him, though, his future may lie right here at MnSoM. Caleb’s been known to volunteer his time around the school. I offer to pay him, but he flat-out refuses. Our UPS driver here at the school is even on a first-name basis with him now because of how often Caleb signs for packages. In fact, one of the most important things Caleb does is help me decide who we hire on as teachers. One of our tests here at MnSoM when looking at a new hire is observing how they actually interact in a lesson environment. It’s one thing to put “great with kids” on a résumé and another thing entirely to actually be great in practice. So Caleb will actually go through an observed lesson with a new prospect. After all, I don’t want to hire anyone I wouldn’t trust to teach my own children! I can so easily see a future in teaching for my son. He’s proven to be a fast learner and an excellent communicator. As I’m writing this, I can hear him teaching his sister phonics in the other room. As both Caleb and Ava grow, I look forward to all the memories we’ll make together as a family. At this young age, it’s already clear that MnSoM is, and always has been, just as much their school as it is mine.
F rom edition to edition, I’ve who have helped shape me as a man, musician, and business owner. Without them, Minnesota School of Music would not have taken the shape it has. For this month, I want to focus on the two people without whom MnSoM wouldn’t exist at all. I am, of course, talking about my children, Caleb and Ava. In our very first edition, I mentioned that while teaching and pursuing my doctorate at U of M, I suddenly got it into my head that I wanted to found a music school for my son and unborn daughter. The seed of that idea was planted late one night as I was getting home from a long period of study. Caleb, who was 3 or 4 at the time, popped his head up from the couch, tired and confused. “Dad,” he asked me, “why are you here?” This heartbreaking question was the spark that ignited my desire to make MnSoM a reality. I grew up without knowing my father and have always felt the pain of his absence. When Caleb asked me that question, I realized that, while I was there to provide for my family, I wasn’t really there for him. I wanted to be able to be there for Caleb, to be the father I’d always wanted in my own been highlighting the friends, family members, and mentors
life. I came to realize that I just couldn’t make that happen on a busy university teaching schedule. But what if I could continue doing what I loved with my son at my side? What if I started my very own music school?
“Watching Caleb’s growth as a musician has been a
Fast-forward to MnSoM opening its doors for the first time. There had been lots of trials and tribulations between that first spark of an idea and making the school a reality, but there it was! There was just one problem: Caleb was going off to kindergarten. To get our school off the ground, I was working 16-plus hours a day. Ironically, I was even busier than I had been at the university. The only time I got to see my son and newborn daughter was at the breakfast table while I was on my way out the door. So, after plenty of thought, my wife and I decided to start home schooling our children. I can give both Caleb and Ava the quality parental time they need while still growing the business that supports us. Fittingly enough, Caleb has become a driving force in that growth. phenomenal thing to experience, and I can’t wait to see where his young life takes him.”
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