The story behind the studio
I’m Sarah Hastings! I’m a wife and a mom who loves her family, loves music, and loves to teach! I’m originally from Kansas and graduated from Wichita State University (go Shockers!), but moved to Texas about 2 years ago. A little bit about why I started Fingerprints Studio and what it’s all about…
Why I Teach Music
I’ve loved music ever since I can remember. One of my earliest memories is of riding in my car seat, listening to my favorite cassette tapes play over and over and singing along. I knew all the words to every song, and I knew the order of the songs on each of the cassettes.
I distinctly remember the day my parents brought a piano home for me. A lot of its keys were missing their covers, one of its legs was broken, and it sounded awful. (We found out later that it was half an octave flat.)
I could have cared less. At 5 years old, I walked into my first piano lesson as giddy as could be. Little did I know then that I was about to embark on the journey of a lifetime!
Since then, I’ve had the privilege of studying under many talented teachers and I’ve earned a degree in music. However, as much as I’ve grown in music, it’s more accurate to say that music has grown in me.
“[Music] is one of the most powerful forces in the rise of mankind, and he who renders it accessible to as many people as possible is a benefactor of humanity.” -Zoltan Kodaly
Yes. I firmly believe that every person is better off with music in his or her life. This is, in fact, the first inspiration for the existence (and name!) of Fingerprints Studio…
Music makes an imprint on the lives of all those it touches.
Taking piano lessons isn’t so much about learning how to read music or create a perfect hand position. It’s about something much deeper. For some students it’s the ability to reach beyond themselves and touch the life of another person through their playing. For others it’s the self-confidence they gain as they experience beauty coming from their own two hands, students who are otherwise labeled “inferior” by their peers or even by themselves. For some it’s about accessing their imaginations and creativity for the first time, and for others it’s the exhilarating discovery that they can communicate things they’ve never been able to say with words. But for all, it’s not just about a lesson. Like a fingerprint, it’s permanent. It’s about the lifelong impact made on students by music.
I’ve watched music touch young lives time and time again, and not much in this world brings more joy to my heart.
When I was student teaching, I had the privilege of working with a wonderful adaptive music teacher. I traveled with her to several elementary schools every week, where we would step into the special education classroom and teach music for 45 minutes. The best 45 minutes of my day.
Music class looked much different for these sweet students than for their peers. You couldn’t find rows of “criss-cross applesauce” students playing the percussion instruments in their laps to a rhythm written on the board. Instead a jagged semicircle of students formed as we walked in, some in wheelchairs. We had some several nonverbal students and other students who were blind.
When we pulled out the percussion instruments, some of the students cheered enthusiastically and others refused to touch one. And then we would turn on the music. These were precious moments. For as the music fell on their ears, a visible change would come across the room. A tiny smile would appear on the face of one little girl, and a little boy stopped his nervous rocking and sat completely still, mesmerized. One little boy grinned ear to ear and clapped uncontrollably for joy. We tried to encourage the students to keep a steady beat by tapping it on their bodies, but normally the students would just tap here or there, as they felt something in the music.
Will these students ever be able to play a Beethoven sonata? No. But were their lives impacted in a big way? Beyond a doubt. And I think that’s something worthwhile.
This realization became the second inspiration for Fingerprints Studio…
Like a fingerprint, every student is unique.
Teaching music to students with special needs, though it was only for a brief season, was one of the best experiences of my life because it challenged me to view every student as an individual, made uniquely by their Creator, and teach them as such. And it opened my eyes to another truth – that, really, all students have “special needs.” Just like no two fingerprints are the same, no two students are the same, and their lessons shouldn’t be either. Making adaptations for the individual needs of my students excites me because, at the core, it gives me the privilege of exploring who they are and helping put that in the spotlight.
May many unique sets of fingerprints be found on the keys of the piano at Fingerprints Studio as we make music together for years to come. And may each student leave with even more prints on his or her heart.