009 – An “In-Between” Moment

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Episode Summary

A few ways we can give small offerings in our lives and studios when we feel a world away but hold current events in our hearts. We’ll wrap up the episode with a moment of silence as a collective community to offer thoughts and prayers for all those in Russia and Ukraine but even more specifically for our colleagues affected there and elsewhere.


Items Mentioned

National Anthem of Ukraine (sheet music by Daniel Light)


As I sit here, prepared to dedicate the next few hours needed to write and record this week’s episode, I feel the inkling in my bones that what I had originally planned for this week can wait. For most of us, our lives and studios will continue on as normal, but for our colleagues in the Ukraine, that may not be the case.

Since this podcast is about living life as an independent music teacher from organizing our studios to all that comes between, this felt like one of those in-between’s.

While it’s true that there is much that goes on around the world every single day that we cannot possibly stop and reflect on, there are moments where together, as humanity, we simultaneously catch our breath and ache in our hearts. This is one of those moments.

In today’s episode, I offer to you small ways we can filter moments like these through our lives and give small offerings no matter how menial they may seem. We’ll wrap up the episode with a moment of silence as a collective community to offer thoughts and prayers for all those in Russia and Ukraine but even more specifically for our colleagues there and elsewhere affected by current events.

Welcome to The Piano Pantry Podcast where together, we live life as independent music teachers. I’m your host, Amy Chaplin. In this space we talk about all things teacher-life related from running an independent music studio to getting dinner on table and all that comes between. You’ll get loads of easily-actionable tips on organizing and managing your studio while balancing life and home.

A moment for Ukraine.

As I sit here looking out the windows of my living room, the sun shining on my face. I close my eyes and wonder what I can offer. My eyelids flutter open welcoming the strength the sun gives and turn them towards the book of prayer I’m currently reading. I begin flipping through, hoping for a moment of sudden inspiration whether it be deep words of wisdom or a beautiful prayer to whisper.

Whatever direction I decide to go though, I wonder…

Will you find it interesting or useful? Things can change at the drop of a hat and with me recording this episode ahead of time, will it still have merit or use? Will it still be appropriate and meaningful? Will it be enough?

The beeper on my washing machine goes off and I welcome the distraction to stop and ponder my own questions. As I lift our comforter out of the washer basin, heavy with the weight of water within, I realize whatever I say and give to you in this moment will be enough because it’s an offering – a gift that is all I can give in an event I can do nothing about.

So, my teacher friends, here a few ways we can filter moments like these through our lives and give small offerings to events that are a world away and yet right here in our hearts.

Remain Aware

As I stated in the opening, it’s impossible to let everything that happens around the world infiltrate our daily thoughts but we can work to keep up-to-date.

I would encourage you to use more than one form and format of news. For me it’s news podcasts and reading news articles through my RSS reader. For you it may be a local newspaper and articles found while scrolling through social media. For others it might be the nightly news and radio. Whatever combination you use, do your best to stay informed and don’t just get your news from one place.

Be Open to Learning Something New

Whether it’s in regard to what’s happening in Ukraine, the state of Covid-19 in the world or something else, one thing we can all do is to have the desire to learn something new. Seek out information and be curious.

If Ukrainian culture is something you don’t know much about, use this moment in history to learn something you didn’t know before. Maybe you dedicate your music listening time to Ukrainian music, or swap your current fiction book out for a bit of reading on history regarding current events. Try cooking a Ukrainian dish such as borsch, stuffed cabbage rolls, chicken Kiev, or potato pancakes.

I know listening to music or cooking a meal is not going to change anything, but it’s a small way we can learn about and appreciate a culture of which we may not be familiar.

With the same mindset, let’s try and take this to our students as well.

Maybe you take time during a group class to learn about a composer for the region, perhaps for younger students it’s a simple as them listening to music from a Ukrainian composer while coloring a picture or drawing to the music.

This week, I decided to perform the Ukrainian National Anthem for my students during their group class performance time and have a very brief discussion. Daniel Light, a teacher from Kentucky, just published a free sheet music download I’ll link to in the show notes.

Offer support in whatever form you can

We all have different backgrounds, beliefs, and abilities – all of which can be offered in a variety of ways to help those affected by current events.

The free sheetmusic from Daniel Light is a great example.

Offer what you can in any way you can whether that be prayer, meditation, financial support, or somehow direct support to people effected. Maybe you’re skilled in writing and can share on social media information on what’s going on in a way that is educational to others.

Moment of Silence

To wrap up this episode, I wanted to take a moment of silence collectively as a music teacher community to remember and pray for our colleagues affected by recent events. Wherever you are, if you’re able, I hope you can stop and join in.

Don’t go anywhere I’ll be back with you shortly,.

Thanks for being here my music teacher friends, we’re going to end this one on a quiet note and I look forward to seeing you in episode #10- the 2nd of our Teacher Talk episodes where I’ll be chatting with Karen Thickstun, current president of Music Teacher’s National Association. Have a great week.