Associate in Mission, Janet Woods, CGG MSJ1

Janet Wood Associate Spotlight

In the Ordinary Circumstances of Our Lives Associate in Mission, Janet Woods, CGG MSJ1

“Treat everyone with the same care as if you were meeting God”. Maxim 49

“Hold fast to the commitments you believe bring glory to God”. Maxim 67

“Seek what is above” – Colossians 3

I am so graced by God to be teaching. I love teaching. For me, it is a vocation, a calling. I also love to be with children and teenagers – their spontaneity, their completeness, their honesty, and their fresh spirits are all gift to me. I love in them what is yet to be formed as they learn to navigate our world. I also love music as I was blessed with wonderful mentors in my music undergraduate and graduate programs.

So, in the ordinary circumstances of my life – I teach piano to children and adults ages 6 to 96!

I just wrote an “all about me”, however, my vocation is really about encounter and collaboration. My students arrive five days a week – I am touched by the sparkle in their eyes when they enter the studio, their excitement about a new piece they have been waiting to play, carefully looking through a new book to discover what is next in their piano journey, feeling accomplished as they achieve a landmark and sharing about their high school coursework and friends, who they are and what life challenges they might be encountering. I get to know many students over a long arc of time as many begin as early as kindergarten and study piano until they graduate from high school. Many students and their families have become life-long and cherished friends. What gifts!

During piano lessons, conversations with students are easily extended. “Wow! Your dynamics have improved so much this week. Your hands sound so professional! How did you work to achieve this?” Students then share their process. It is so good for them to give voice to how they took charge of their learning during the week. And it is good for me as I learn how individual students work. I can then, in turn, affirm and extend and offer even more possibilities for their practice. We collaborate. Students also meet once a month in group lessons to reinforce what they are learning at the piano. And, I have to admit, the process of our Associate Consultation has made its way into our piano group lessons. Students often work together in dyad and triad sharing, always collaborating.

In my nine years as an Associate, I have heard and learned about the “we” and my hope is to be a charism carrier. Our Associate vocation spreads its wings into all we do, all of our encounters and relationships. For me, these beautiful threads of teaching are all pure gift from God – the children, the music, the life-long friendships, our extended conversations, the affirmations, sharing challenges and playing music – it’s all about reciprocity and grace and all rooted in and circling back to God.