Remember back to when you were a child. There was that one teacher who inspired you to be your best, that one teacher who you wanted to never disappoint, that one teacher who made you feel so proud whenever she told you how proud you made her. That’s a great starting place to begin to understand Misty Leigh Butler, but she is also so much more than that.
In addition to being so inspiring, Misty possesses a commanding insight and embodies a captivating grace. For her first book, Finally Spoken; Words of Hope, Misty received numerous positive reviews for her gentle uplifting wisdom. In addition to being an author, Misty teaches piano to over thirty students, tutors children with autism, and assists as a support/respite provider for special needs individuals in community living situations. She is actively involved in her church, and volunteers in her community. Misty is eagerly working on her second book.
MISTY LEIGH BUTLER: I love seeing people discover something they’re passionate about and watching them become more confident as they throw themselves into it! Especially with the arts, people can develop so much creativity and can influence others through a song, poem, or painting. The world seems like such a cruel place at times; it’s a gift when humans try to add a little more beauty to it by creating art or inspiring others.
JM: Great answer, Misty, great answer. Talk a little but about the people you come in contact with throughout a typical week. The settings, the interactions, student-aged and adults. And what are the different ways you bring out creativity in different types of people?
MLB: During a typical week, I teach students ages 5 through adult. One time I taught an 84-year-old man! When I first started teaching, I didn’t realize the bonds I would develop. Both students and their families have become people I get to share life with. I’ve taught kids from a young age until they graduate high school or watched them go from being terrified in front of an audience to being confident. Every student has some areas they’re stronger in musically and some areas they’re weaker—whether it’s ear-training, sight-reading, muscle memory…. I love to find ways to develop a weaker skill and approach concepts from that angle. Once students lose that fear of whatever their weakness is musically, we can get creative and attempt what they might have resisted before.
MLB: I love seeing students with passion and enthusiasm, students who connect with music and gain joy through making it a part of their lives! Going even a level beyond that, however, to the most successful students are qualities which are often overlooked because they’re just not as “fun”—carving time to practice into an already busy schedule, drilling scales instead of playing on electronics…Music can be so enjoyable, we sometimes forget that’s not all it is. Certain stages of learning music can be repetitive, tedious, and grueling. Our culture has become so fast-paced, not everyone will persevere through those challenging phases, so I’m always encouraged when I see a student willing to put forth the effort, time, and self-discipline!
MLB: I’ve gotten a lot of feedback that readers love hearing stories about my students. Every time I experience a meaningful moment with my students or they say something clever (which is often), I document it, because I know later it could be used to bring someone a smile or laughter.
My second book is in the works! It’s just such a long process! But worth it. The style and format will be similar to my first one—a collection of short pieces that can be read in intervals. Just like with music though, I keep thinking of new little touches to add or things to adjust. I love the creative process! I hope my writing is relatable and brings words of encouragement and joy. I pray that is what my readers leave with after finishing my book or other