GREAT TEACHERS – NOT ALWAYS!
Very few of the finest music teachers set out to teach. In fact most of us were set on never becoming teachers at all. We are and were performers; wanna-be rock stars (maybe still for me), classical players, jazz artists, composers, singers, songwriters, and anything but music teachers. But that changes with some of us, either smoothly or at slow painful grind. If you have a great teacher, rest assured there is a good chance they never wanted to be one.
For me (wanna-be rock star), I was working as a waiter with a music degree. I was (and still am) a composer, rock musician and I wanted to hit it big. I played every gig (music job) I could: whether for free, for gas money, or maybe even good cash.
I had worked my way out of the free gig category (most of the time) and worked my way up to a “semi professional” musician. “Semi” to me meant almost being able to support myself as a musician. Notice there is no mention of lifestyle here. Life was fun, but the semi was an issue, like most musicians, I wanted to be pro and nothing less.
One day I get a call…
So one day I get a call, “hey Jay I hear you play piano and wanted to know if you could teach my children”? In my head I’m thinking “are you kidding, no way, I can’t teach, I’ve never taught, I don’t know half as much as my teachers did, who gave this person my number.” But then I felt the power and guilt of the word “Semi” and so I asked a few questions about what I was getting into; set a date and said I would give it a try (my attempt at non-committing). I was more scared about screwing up some kids musical future then playing in front any large crowd or important gig. I reluctantly began my teaching career and chalked teaching up to being one step closer to Pro. Here’s where all those piano lessons paid off.
Those first two students we’re aged 5 and 10. I remember saying to my then soon to be wife, “I’m not sure if I’m teaching these kids anything, I don’t know enough”. Little did I know these feelings are the core of what makes a teacher great; Caring. I was always worried about messing up the kids (musically of course). Wondering if teaching was a legit way to be pro. Anxious if I was loosing something. Scared that I might like it, teaching that is. This is where the story needs to end now.
Two becomes forty
My two students turned into 6 after six weeks. Those 6 students turned into 20 in 3 months, and those 20 turned into 40 by the end of the year. Why? How? What made me a popular teacher? Was it just me? My personality? What did I have to share that was special? Something I said, something I did, or something I understood? That’s why I’d like you to follow my blogs. If you’re a parent you need to know about music teachers. If you are a student you need to know about music. If you’re a teacher you need to know about everything. Why? Because there is something about music that makes life real, that enhances a feeling that stimulates your scenes. It validates the soul.