Today, I reflected, with a group of women, on some of the most influential teachers in our lives. Having gone to great schools, I am fortunate to have many. In fact, I can directly credit several of my teachers for my love of writing, reading and history. Among the women who spoke today, there was a common theme. Several mentioned choir and band teachers, and I recalled that every time I am with my high school friends we reminisce about stories from choir.

So from my choir teachers I have learned –

– How to properly breathe when singing
– How to step touch
– Integrity means doing the right thing even when no one else is looking – I even passed this piece of wisdom on to my own students
– If you don’t watch the director, you might miss something
– If you don’t breathe when everyone else breathes, you look like an idiot
– If you don’t know the words, mouth “watermelon”
– That it is not OK to sing harmony to the Pakistan National Anthem
– That choir teachers also can date
– That if your choir teacher tells you not to make kissing sounds during a pause in “Kiss the Girl” then you probably shouldn’t do it
– I can remember none of the poems I memorized in school but I can still sing “The Road Not Taken”
– That medleys are the best
– That I am no soloist
– That Second Soprano is stinking hard

Perhaps the “choir teacher” I have learned the most from was no formal teacher but my own mother. Her love of music and constant singing meant our home was always full of beautiful sounds. I think that’s why to this day I sing in my head, aloud, in the shower, in the car, as I walk down the street. It’s as if I have a constant soundtrack to my life. I sing real songs or made up ones. As I said, I am no soloist. I can carry a tune, love music and am so thankful for the men and women who contributed to this love.