living on pb & j

Ordinary moms living on Prayer, the Bible, and Jesus!

Women of Faith, Women of Influence: To Teach Is to Touch a Life Forever


I have been so excited about this series, and have spent a lot of time thinking about my contribution! There are so many who have influenced my life in so many different ways. But the wonderful lady I picked has had immeasurable sway on the direction of my life.

When I was a young girl, my mother started me in piano lessons. It was fine. I remember practicing a lot, along with my older brother, and older sister. We were all forced. We were all made to practice. We were all carted off to our lesson each week. My parents were adamant about it.

As a certain teacher had slots on her waiting list, we were moved over to her. And it began to change my life!

Her name is Melissa Snow, and her piano-teaching skills are out of this world. She teaches with zeal, passion, and fun!

I remember when I was a young teenager. I was really getting burned-out on piano. I really didn’t like it. It took up so much time, and I really wanted to quit. My mom wouldn’t let me (of course!), so we went to every other week instead of every week. It really helped to have a small break. After that time, when I was about 14, I began to actually love it. I went to every week again, and even all through the summer! I got over that “hump” of indifference, and began to share my teacher’s dream.

One of the things I will always remember about her is her kindness. If I hadn’t practiced well that week, she never showed her annoyance with me. (Although now that I teach piano myself, I am sure she felt it!) She always had a smile, a kind word, and an “You can get it if you work a little harder.”

I often visited her church growing up. I loved to hear her play (and still do!). She was always faithfully in her place in church. She would sing and play, and I would dream that I could sing and play like her.

She helped me get college information from her alma mater, Crown College. That of course, had a great impact on my life. God greatly led me while I was there, and I learned so much more about Him. I met my wonderful husband there. All because of my teacher. 🙂

I see her now about once a year. At last year’s meeting, she and I were talking about our piano students. I always have questions and seek her advice with my teaching problems. She said, “I was just thinking about the time you told me you hated playing hymns.” We both smiled. 🙂 “I’m glad you didn’t quit.” Well, my mama wouldn’t let me! But so much of it was because of my teacher! She just had a way, and still does.

Not only did her direction influence my college choice, and lead me to the place where I met my Jamin. But I have played the piano in some form in every place I’ve been. Either as the church pianist, or playing for a certain group or choir. There is always a need for a pianist. Now I have 13 piano students also. I am not bragging in any way, shape, or form here. It’s just that I’m using what God has given me in the best way that I can. (Trust me! I know there are much more talented and gifted musicians out there!) Had I not had a wonderful teacher, I wouldn’t be able to do these things!

She still teaches, and I would love to live closer to my childhood home, so she could teach my children!

As I teach, I often think of her and her gentle ways. I could spot her handwriting anywhere. I can still hear her laugh. I have memorized the way her hands look, as I watched them show me how to play piano pieces week after week. I’m so thankful for her faithfulness and influence in my life!

Did you have a great teacher? I’d love for you to share your story in the comments below!

❤ Joy

women of faith who have influenced our lives

November 2012


3 thoughts on “Women of Faith, Women of Influence: To Teach Is to Touch a Life Forever

  1. I loved reading this, Joy. I sometimes sit and wonder what my life would be like without the piano in it. I can’t even imagine. I don’t have memories from when I *didnt* play the piano. Piano has in many ways shaped who I am, and in many ways has shaped the direction of my entire life!

    I have had excellent teachers that I’m so thankful for. My second teacher, Dorothy Yogi, was a Julliard grad and she really instilled in me a passion for classical playing and knowledge of theory. My third teacher, Dr. Charles Wilkes, was also a Julliard grad, and in his 80s when I took lessons from him. He died while I was in college. Oh how I miss him! He and his wife were the sweetest couple. They were a great example of a loving, long-lasting, Christ-honoring marriage. He also did not show his annoyance when I didn’t practice. He was so patient and kind. He was so insistent on proper technique. I still remember most of the things he taught me regarding technique. He often said, “I don’t teach piano. I teach people.” and that was the truth. Even at 80 something, he took time to listen to what was going on in my life, and showed true interest, and often, concern. He’d be hesitant about me being too rough on my body with hard sports and little sleep, or be concerned that I was dating the wrong guy. And he always encouraged me to keep my priorities straight. I still have letters from him that he sent me while I was in college. He would let me know he was praying for me. I’ll cherish them forever. I hope that I can have the kind of love for people that he had.

  2. You are so right! Mrs. Melissa is a great teacher. She has taught Emily since she started K-5. She has been so patient, and all the children just love her. Her teaching abilities (musically) are fabulous! But, even more important–to me– is that she is such a godly example to her. I want to have godly influences in my daughter’s life and she more than does that. Thank you, Joy, for a nice tribute to someone who has blessed our lives too.

  3. I am completely humbled by all the nice things you have said, Joy! How kind!! The blessing surely is mine!! What a joy to know that I have been able to have a small part in encouraging someone in the ministry! To see someone that takes their talent and uses it for the Lord makes everything worth while! There are so many people who either have talent but don’t want to take the time to develop it, OR they do develop it but choose to use it for their own gain, that it is encouraging to see those who love the Lord and want to honor Him with their life. Thank you so much for being such a blessing to ME! 🙂

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