Is it Time to Give Up Teaching?

We’ve been having a blast promoting Shout! at the Ohio Music Educators Association conference in Columbus this week.

All of the music in Shout! is performed a cappella. We’re meeting a lot of music teachers, many of whom have a deep love for a cappella music and it’s really fun to see them latch on to the concept.

But on Friday morning we had a chilling conversation with a teacher about the play. This particular teacher flatly stated that her students could never sing a cappella. She never even looked at the score. The worst part? She was a choral director.

If you’re a teacher and you say that your students can’t do something then guess what? They can’t. Not because of any innate inability in them, but because you have made the choice for them.

Any person who has achieved success in life has done so because at some point someone believed in them. If you’re choosing to shut your students off from a world of limitless opportunity then it’s time to get out of the profession. You’re not doing anyone any good.

Yes a cappella music is difficult. But it’s not cross-the-Pacific-Ocean-in-a-leaky-bathtub difficult. It just takes energy, enthusiasm, and love. I think the first production was so successful because nobody told the cast it was going to be difficult, or that they couldn’t do it.

Once the music from Shout! clicks, it’s with you for life.

Thanks for listening. Now, where did I leave my leaky bathtub? It’s gotta be around here somewhere…

About the author

Craig Mason


  • I have heard this “excuse” before. Teachers who say students can’t handle Shakespeare, or tie their own shoes, or write a play, or direct, or exhibit the maturity necessary for x, y, and z (that’s the last part of the alphabet). I know who is lacking the necessary skills. There are many frustrating aspects about teaching teenagers (navigating the Pacific sans oars and with a gapping hole in the tub in one of them). But if you are going to give up, give up. Slide your rear end over to the passenger side and let someone else drive. Because someone else will. It may even be one of “those people” that you said “couldn’t do it”. There are a lot of great teachers and some obstacles that students have to overcome on their way to the island paradise (I think they sing most of their songs a cappella there). Bon Voyage!

  • It was a sad moment let me tell you Christian. The upside is that I am so aware of great teachers. I see what they do first hand and their amazing effect on teenagers. I know they’re out there!