Kids are my teachers

Uncategorized Jan 28, 2021

This past week I played a little Haydn ditty for a student via zoom. Enamored by the many notes in the piece, she was eager to hear who created it. After hearing “Haydn” she asked, “Do you think he knows Biden?!”


A connection and rhyme I certainly did not make.


A few years ago I arrived at a lesson after having an intense conversation with my therapist about setting boundaries. My six year old student sat down at the piano with me, clearly emotional about something. I asked him what was going on and if he wanted to talk about it. He said, “It’s private.”


My jaw about hit the floor. How did he know about boundaries already?! I was amazed.


During the pandemic, I briefly tried teaching some lessons in real life. We all wore masks. Upon our prompt switch back to virtual, my five year old student showed up on zoom with her mask on. Her Dad explained that with zoom, we didn’t need masks anymore.


I was touched. She knew and cared about doing the right thing when so many flat out just don’t.


Randomly between scales in a lesson a student once burst, “Adrienne, why are we here? What do you think the meaning of life is?” He was Star Wars obsessed and constantly looking at the sky. As a fellow star gazer, dreamer and question asker, I was taken aback with a smile.


We proceeded to have a soul led conversation about what we each believed our purpose was. A level of depth and pure heart that is a rarity, that I haven’t had with that many adults.


My life as a teacher has been a quilt, a constellation of moments like these. Moments where I am humbled, moments where words fail, moments where I am constantly in awe of my students.


Sometimes I wonder why I get the title “teacher” when truthfully I’m convinced that they teach me just as much if not more. Not only do they teach me to be a better artist, they show me how to be a better human.


It’s moments like these that give me immense joy. It’s moments like these where I learn. It’s moments like these where I am exposed to exquisite beauty, the beautiful wisdom and presence of pure souls - kids.


I’ve come to really experience kids as undercover Buddhas on the earth. Undercover in the sense that the vast majority of the population doesn’t see them. They are widely not valued or respected in that way or known for their enlightenment. Undercover also in the sense that this enlightenment can hit suddenly, unexpected and profoundly - many times I don’t see it coming!


Well I’ve got the inside scoop - kids are immensely wise. I get a window into their greatness. Each day I get a front row seat.


I can’t think of any other seat I’d like to be sitting in.


To narrow down every single phrase or moment from ten years (oh my!) of teaching private lessons is a Mount Everest task. What I do know is the most important value I embody as a teacher that I believe allows for these transmissions and the big lessons I get to receive.


The value and practice is this: When I simply allow kids to be who they are, the gates open.


Simple and radical, I let kids be who they are. I don’t tamper with them. I let go of the box, let go of “control” (an illusion in itself) and let them exist as is. This is where the portal is.


Not only do I view this as a deep respectful act, it’s supportive for them. It allows them to flourish, access their highest self, access their potential and ultimately, share unfiltered wisdom that lives inside of them.


This is the gift of autonomy that is so rarely given to young people. This is the gift that I seek to give. In giving this gift, I had no idea the amount of gifts they would give to me. 


During my childhood, I remember many times feeling caged. I remember feeling force, lack of choice, and not having freedom to be who I was.


As an adult I find myself unlearning more than learning. I am constantly unlearning ways of thought, ways of being, habits and you name it - I have learned so much that can block me from who I really am. Life will do that to ya.


I have conversations with my younger self almost daily, she’s my inner leader, my pilot light, the girl in tie dye leggings spinning barefoot in the grass. She knows the way. I constantly am taking a path back to her, a path back to my true self, a path that I call mindfulness.


Years ago in the infancy of Mindful Music, I began to ask the question, what if kids never had to leave themselves in the first place? What if they could just stay?


Through this practice of letting them stay who they are, my students teach me incredible things. I receive a showering of daily miracles. In this allowance of remaining their buddha-selves, they teach me.


Kids teach me about the present moment. Smiling one moment, frustrated the next and utterly content the next, kids have immense connection with the present moment. If they were upset two minutes ago, they’re not ruminating on it now. They’ve moved on to enjoying another attempt, the sun streaming through the window, a new discomfort, or the joy of playing a song they love. Kids are role models when it comes to presence.


Kids teach me about resilience. In 2020, while adults around the globe were still arguing about masks and social distancing, kids were in another plane. They were wearing masks and carrying on with life because “This is just what we do now”. I was shown over and over again how they could pivot on a dime, how masks were almost seamlessly integrated and how young people stepped up in ways adults did not.


It was in these moments many times during the pandemic I longed for a microphone to the world to say, “Everybody stop, sit down, and watch this!”. Kids have always shown me resilience, but in 2020 they increased it tenfold.


Kids teach me about joy. Many of you may know my take on joy and how I prioritize it in my life. So much of this comes from what I learn from kids and how they reflect back to me my inner child self. When was the last time you danced, or did a cartwheel, or jumped into a heap of snow, or made up a fun handshake with a friend? Adults commonly lose this part of themselves and honestly, life really sucks without joy! Kids show me every day how joy is available in every moment if we decide to create it.


Kids teach me innovation and creativity. I constantly find myself saying “I never thought of it that way” when I am in the presence of my students. They constantly reflect back to me different ways of viewing tools I’ve known for years, new systems for accomplishing their goals in ways that work for them and showcasing their own versions of flow state and musical creations.


Kids show me every day that there is always a different and better way for things, which is why I know one of them will solve climate change! Simply allowed license to explore, kids are fountains of ideas that can move the needle in their own life and the lives of all of us.


Kids teach me honesty. Leave it to kids to be brutally honest in the moment! And not only that, many times it’s simply neutral - mindfulness in real time. Kids have an impeccable ability to call out things in their awareness in the moment. “You made a mistake”, “You always wear your hair up”, “This makes my heart happy”, “I’m mad at you” - all of these show incredible emotional intelligence. Kids teach me about noticing without judgement and expressing the truth openly.


Kids teach me technology. This one makes me laugh! Never have I ever felt so old as I did in the rapid switch to virtual learning. And never have I ever leaned on my students for so much technological support! While I’m a millennial and even took classes on music technology in college, I’m very much an old soul. I’ve always had a resistance to technology. I always would hire people to record my audition tapes and I hated how technology would mess with my relationship with the present moment.


My students taught me how to get over myself in this regard and make friends with technology. I had screen-sharing tutorials with eight year olds and I’m so grateful! While this one makes me laugh and may seem ridiculous, it points to the many talents that kids bring to the table if we’re brave enough to see them. (Amanda Gorman) It turns out that when you check your ego at the door, old dogs can be taught new tricks. Or maybe in my case, just tricks they’ve avoided for years.


Finally the big one, the most important lesson my kids teach me is love. When I boil everything kids teach me down to the source, it’s love. Kids teach me love. While the definition of love is a tough one to pin down, to me it’s a verb. It’s a way of existing in the world based in kindness, truth, care, reverence for one another and deep reverence for oneself. It’s a way of relating. It’s a way of showing up. It’s a life philosophy.


Everything in this life can be boiled down to love or fear. I consistently see kids choosing love. And when supported with more love from the adults around them, they can stay in their natural “love-state” even if fear makes a guest appearance. Innately, before failure and conditioning take hold, kids are pure love.


I recently had someone say to me, “When you get your coaching business up and running full speed, you won’t need to teach piano anymore.”


I said, “Why would I ever want to do that?” I don’t need to teach piano, I don’t need to devote my gifts to kids, I get to.


I get to show up each day, hold space for them, give them tools and along the way they teach me more than I ever could imagine. I am fiercely devoted to holding kids high and paying it forward to them with mindfulness and music combined. I love supporting them in being who they are.


Through our time together and the relationships we build, kids teach me and remind me each and every day to fully live.


What do the kids in your life teach you?


Are you paying attention to these undercover Buddhas?


Are you closing the gates to their greatness with dogma? Or are you opening the gates for them by allowing them to be?


If your inner child from years ago had one message for you today, what is it?


I invite each and every one of you to tap into the wisdom of kids, whether it’s kids in your personal life, kids you serve or even the kid within you!


I invite you to keep this portal open, let the wisdom flow through, and allow them to simply stay who they are.


How lucky am I that I get to be surrounded with these teachers every day?


The luckiest.


If you’d like to hear more about my teaching philosophy and Mindful Music framework, I was recently interviewed on a podcast where I deep dive into this. Check it out here! I would love to hear what stand out to you from the conversation. Please hit reply and let me know!


If you’d like a kid in your life to learn music and mindfulness to stay tapped into their wisdom by way of the piano, reach out to me here! I’m currently welcoming powerful uncover Buddhas into the Mindful Music studio.


And finally, for those that feel out of touch with their inner child and wisdom within, I am now offering mindfulness and conscious creation coaching for 1:1 clients. It’s all about remembering your innate power and then creating what you want in life on purpose.

If this sounds like you or sparks your heart, book a free call with me here and let’s explore together. Coming soon, brand new group coaching creations. Keep your eyes peeled!


Here’s to the undercover Buddhas, the children of the planet, the young and wise, the un-jaded humans that can teach us all! 😊


Not only do they teach us, but they reflect back to us that innate love and knowing we too have inside.


If we simply let them.


In gratitude, learning and relentless pursuit of a better world,

⭐️ Adrienne


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