On the first Monday in May each year, schools across Canada celebrate the impact of music and music education with Music Monday. To mark the occasion, CBC Music invited several prominent Canadian musicians across a variety of genres to pen a letter to a music teacher who has greatly influenced their career.
Canadian singer-songwriter Royal Wood responded to our request, and penned this letter to his teacher, Rob Roy of Lakefield District Secondary School in Peterborough, Ont.
Dear Mr. Roy,
When I reflect on my days at LDSS (Lakefield District Secondary School) I am filled with endless memories of both confident tomfoolery and awkward boyish behavior. However, certain memories stand out above the rest. One in particular that made a real difference in my life was an act of kindness and faith by a music teacher.
Teachers rarely understand the impact they have on a student’s life. I guess this is because we, as students, float in and out of your lives in a sea of names and faces. However, sometimes an educator like yourself takes the time to encourage a child to reach their potential: To strive to break down the walls of mediocrity and build instead upon their dreams of doing something against the grain.
I long remember the pressures in school to get straight As, to work hard for a scholarship, to go to university, and then enter the workforce with a "career." Those forces pushed against all of us on so many levels – be it at home, or in the hallways. However, I always felt when I walked into your classroom that you understood my dreams. That you realized what the freedom of creating art could bring to one's life. I guess the single most important gesture you showed me was allowing me to take home any instrument I wanted for the summer months. Whether it was the tuba or the drums, they all found their way to my bedroom for endless hours of practice. It was this freedom that added fuel to the fire that burned so brightly inside me. It was an act of kindness and faith that said, "Yes, you have a gift and you should follow your path. I believe in you."
Now, many years later, I find myself living the dream I cherished and wanted so fiercely as a child. I am a successful professional singer-songwriter and producer – and I owe that in part to you, Mr. Roy.
I'm not sure if you are still teaching, or have long since retired, but I do hope this letter finds you somehow, and that it speaks volumes to the gratitude I feel.
CBC's David Carroll reached Mr. Roy at his office at LDSS, and asked him for his response to the letter. Listen here.
You can read more letters and responses, and post a tribute to your favourite music teacher, at our Music Monday page.
Music Monday: Canadian musicians thank their teachers
Letter to my teacher: Suzie Vinnick
Letter to my teacher: Sarah Slean
Letter to my teacher: Oliver Jones
Lenny Breau’s first jazz teacher, Bob Erlendson
Music Monday: coalition for music education
Music Monday with Luke Doucet
on May 01, 2012