--- Begin quote from "mreisz"
...Many of us (myself included) get worried about technical proficiency and musicality and such things, but it seems the best thing I can do with music has little to do with how well I play or sing. At it's essence, music is a powerful tool that allows us to share emotions and moments with others.
--- End quote
This sentence reminded me of an important time in my life. I had just finished getting my degree in music and was teaching students. At that time, my main concern for all of my students was to make them excellent players and musicians. As I was taught at college, musicians don't make mistakes, and great musicians play better than perfect.
At one boarding school, the students all had pretty serious mental disabilities. There was this one particular down syndrome girl (Betsy) who each week seemed to know less about playing the guitar than the week before. One afternoon, after nearly a year of lessons, I arrived at the school and one of her counselors approached me. The counselor told me that Betsy had performed at a talent show at the school the night before. I was a little sad since I had not been informed ahead of time. The counselor assured me that she had done well. I went into the lesson and asked Betsy to play the song she had played at the talent show. She lit up and she picked up the $25 guitar that her wealthy parents had purchased for her. Betsy was pretty obviously the forgotten child in her family. Her parents rarely came to visit her at the boarding school and the guitar that she was given to play on was extremely hard to play (high action, poor intonation...etc). None of this mattered to Betsy. She set the guitar on her lap and began to play This Land is your Land. She strummed the chords the best she could and sang with a voice that was out of tune and would scare a coyote. But the look on her face was magic. She was having fun... no, she was full of joy. And it was at that moment that I realized that perfect playing was not the true nature of music. It's true nature was the joy and emotional response that music brings to players and listeners alike.
This was a life changing moment for me and changed the way I have taught music since.