I know what you’re thinking – what does that picture have to do with music?! Absolutely nothing… well, almost nothing. That was the building where I first started taking saxophone lessons in fifth grade. During a recent trip to Portland, OR, I stopped here and found out that the building had been transformed into something completely different. I still remember walking into that building with my parents to sign up for lessons. Inside, there was a huge collection of sheet music and instruments all over the place along with an old and musty smell. Don’t get me wrong, this place wasn’t disgusting at all, more like “comfortable.” I remember being excited and nervous all at the same time after we finished scheduling my first lesson. The teacher was a prime example of disheveled music teacher; shirt untucked, hair messed up, and nose hair a few inches long.

Not all of my memories are about the look and smell of the building. What I remember most is the connection to laughter and music. My teacher always started the lesson off with some kind of joke… “What do you do when your foot gets stuck in the mud? Call a toe truck!” Even though his jokes were terrible, I was able to relax and be myself in each lesson.

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I started with music. With school starting in a few days (I teach middle school music by the way!) I’ll be getting a whole group of kids who haven’t played an instrument before. How will they make a connection to their instrument/music? Will they have the same experience I did?

I probably have a different outlook on music education than most musicians. I view teaching not as a “side thing” but as something I love to do. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not awesome every day. In fact, let me share with you some of my favorite student (middle school) quotes from last year:

Me: “If everyone will listen up I’ll tell you anything you want to know after I’m finished.”
Student: “Mr. Haynes, where do babies come from?”

While trying to help a student (with nasty B.O.) with his instrument; “Mr. Haynes, your breath is disgusting.”

Student: “No Mr. Haynes, the guy at the music store told me to do it this way!” (putting the saxophone together incorrectly)
Me: “Well I know a few things about the saxophone!”
Student: “Yeah, but he was a PROFESSIONAL!”

Just a few quotes, hope you enjoyed them! Hopefully after reading this you can relate to some of these stories or quotes. If you teach in any capacity and are starting back up, I hope you have a great year!

Also, be sure to check out my new cd “Live at Studio B”!