Last week, I had the pleasure of watching my high school guitar student, Grace, perform at her school talent show. She did a terrific job. I was so proud. I remember Grace when she was ten, struggling to form a C chord.

For a long time, Grace was one of only a handful of students. Now my roster currently stands at 15 private students, most of whom are in the 8-10 age range. I suspect I will be attending more talent shows and coffee shop gigs in the future as these young musicians progress.

Thinking about my students makes me consider what kind of legacy I’ll leave behind as a teacher. I like to think that most of my students will keep a love and appreciation of music with them for the rest of their lives, and maybe a few of them will surpass my playing skills and someday look back with fond memories of their first guitar teacher.

Lately, I’ve also been thinking about what kind of legacy I will leave at Northwest. This is only my fourth year as our music director, so maybe the word “legacy” is too weighty, but it helps me think of the music program in the long term. It’s easy to get caught up in the weekly routine of picking hymns and making sure the band or choir is prepared. Sometimes it’s useful to pause and look at the bigger picture.

Through Religious Education, we are building a legacy with our children. Every decision we make and every action we take shapes our legacy as a congregation. Similarly, every musical performance and rehearsal shapes the future of our music program. There’s no telling what musical groups we’ll have at Northwest in another 10-20 years. There will be a choir and a band, certainly. Maybe a youth band? Perhaps a large enough choir that we can also form a chamber choir? A more robust children’s music program? Groups that perform at other UU churches or in other settings? Who knows?

Sometimes I wish I could peer into the future to see what our music program will become. Since that’s impossible, I’ll have to settle for envisioning our musical future and shaping it one rehearsal at a time.
Tom Godfrey
Director of Music