tilt selective photograph of music notes

My name is Branden Girtman. I am from Port Chester, New York. I Love to go to church and interact with people from all walks of life. I am a music teacher and one thing I love to do is listen to people. That may seem a little strange or something that is not normally said. Listening to people helps me to understand who they are, how they are, and why they are who they are.  Some people listen to respond instead of listening  to understand where the individual point of view. They will say things such as ” are you finish” which shows they are not listening. When I am having a conversation with someone and they have finished talking I say to them ” this is what I am getting from what you are saying” and I say what I got out of the conversation because I could be interpreting what they are saying wrong. Also, after I finish talking I would ask them ” what did you hear me say”? I ask this because I want them to understand where I am coming from and I want to understand where they are coming from. We should listen to understand and not wait to talk. Teaching music has helped me grow as a listener. When I am teaching music to a student we talk about life as well as music. I try to find a correlation between music and life. I try to show them that the disciple and dedication that is put into music can be put into others areas of life, such as school work,  which will lead to better interaction and relatability with the work they are doing.

I believe that in order to have compassion towards others we have to understand where the person is coming from as regards to their point of view. We must have compassion and put ourselves in the other person shoes so that we can understand them. I believe when we are faced with new things that we have to learn that we should face it with an open mind and look at it as an opportunity to learn and not look at it as being difficult. Things may be difficult at first because it’s the first time we are doing it. As we continue to work and become familiar with it, we will see that the task will become more natural to us and we will discover that we have the capability of doing and finishing the work. If we change how we look at things we will change the outcomes.

image_printPrint this page.


0 0 votes
Rate This Post
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
August 26, 2022 9:50 pm

Dear Branden,
I find your post, “This Is Me”, very relatable because I too feel as if sometimes people aren’t listening but also because too genuinely enjoy listening to others. I actually find it surprising that the situation you describe seems as if it is from my perspective.
Specifically, one sentence that you wrote that stands out to me is: “Listening to people helps me to understand who they are, how they are, and why they are who they are.” I find this very touching because not a lot of people even care about the state of their friends, which I can find upsetting sometimes.
Thanks for you input in this topic/subject. I would like to learn more about your opinion on mental health and how it potentially affects someone who is denied that openness to express themselves. I would also like for you to continue to write more on this specific matter. Thank You.


July 22, 2022 11:09 pm

Dear Brandon:

I am energized by your Habits of Mind bio, “This Is Me,” because you immediately invite readers to get to know you by describing the importance that listening has had on your life. Your explanation demonstrates the great care that you put into getting to know other people on a deep level. It is exciting that you bring this mindset into your music classroom.

One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “Listening to people helps me to understand who they are, how they are, and why they are who they are.” I think this is insightful because it sounds like you seek to understand the whole person when conversing. I remember when I was in grad school, a professor shared that listening is hearing with attention. During conversations, people are challenged by both external (phones and devices) and internal (generating a response to the speaker’s unfinished thought before they are even done) distractions. These factors compete for our attention. To support focused conversations, I agree with you about your technique of sharing back what you heard. This is powerful because it supports not just hearing but also listening. When we rephrase back what we have heard, we can confirm and clarify if we comprehend the intended meaning. In my opinion, this is what actually leads to a sustainable conversation and a deeper connection with the person you are getting to know. I appreciate your thoughts on the impact that listening has on getting to know people.
Another sentence that I thought deeply about was: “If we change how we look at things, we will change the outcomes.” This stood out to me because it affirms that if we aren’t getting the results that we want for any of our goals, we need to assess the factors and consider other perspectives. Your sentence also reminded me of computational thinking, specifically “debugging.” If an obstacle is preventing us from moving towards our objective, it may be necessary to decompose the situation and identify what factors may need more attention and revision.

Have you seen this blog post, Help Students Build Their Active Listening Skills by Sara K. Ahmed? I thought you might be interested in this because Sara shares an activity that educators can offer learners in their classroom. She states that teachers mentor listeners. Additionally, I connected this protocol with one of the final lines in your bio: “As we continue to work and become familiar with it, we will see that the task will become more natural to us and we will discover that we have the capability of doing and finishing the work. ” This makes me think that the more all people engage in practices to become skilled listeners, the more authentic and attentive they will be with our ears, eyes, and hearts. It is necessary to do the work to get there.

Thanks for your writing and sharing your passion for listening and getting to know others! 


Youth Voices is an open publishing and social networking platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.  See more About Youth VoicesTerms of ServicePrivacy Policy.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License


Email allisonpr@gmail.com Call or Text 917-612-3006

Missions on Youth Voices
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?

Create Account