Music Teachers Travel On Curvy Roads

Music Teachers walk through many doors into many houses to teach many students and the students are wildly different from one another.

Attitude, talent, work ethic, mental endurance are all unique to each person.

The Road A Music Teacher Travles
The Road A Music Teacher Travles

I’m always thinking about how much my students teach me and, which is probably about as much as I teach them. It’s important for teachers to continue learning and adjusting. My students teach me how to be a better talker and explainer, because not every student can understand me or any teacher. I think it’s part of our job to try to understand the student and where they’re coming from so that I can better suit their needs!

Beginner Music Students

The thing about being a teacher is you’re always on the spot to provide answers, so
when a student plays the first line of a piece and they look at you for some critical advice or instruction, you are expected to provide something. For the beginner, there are so many things to say that it’s pretty easy to be productive.  There’s tons of material to cover with a beginner and almost any direction I choose will improve the student’s overall abilities. Shifting to an advanced student is somewhat of a slap in the face. When they run through a real piece of music and have their own musical ideas, it’s shockingly refreshing.

“I quickly snap out of it and serve my purpose, sometimes after another run through so I can hear more of what’s wrong instead of everything that’s right.”

It can also be tricky! Going from productive teaching with a 4 year old beginner to productive teaching with a 15 year old practice machine is a brain twister. So I sit there with a huge grin on my face because I’m being genuinely entertained, and the student asks me what I think, sometimes all that comes to mind in the beginning is: “Wow, sounds great!” This comment is surely helpful for the confidence of the student, but other than that it is not all that useful, especially if there is nothing after it.  I quickly snap out of it and serve my purpose, sometimes after another run through so I can hear more of what’s wrong instead of everything that’s right.

Advanced Music Teachers

The reverse is true as well. Coming from that advanced student’s house and then going to teach a beginner is also a bit of a shocking experience. Saying to my beginner student: “Let’s do a run through,” would be completely ridiculous, but sometimes that’s what gear I’m in. I’m ready to listen to music, but when I realize after a moment that this student can barely count their fingers let alone play Beethoven, I have to go back into building mode. Breaking things down, and explaining slowly and clearly.

Time To Breath

Luckily with in home lessons, I typically have 15-30 minutes in the car between students to mentally prepare myself for the type of student I’m about to see. It’s one of the best parts of being a teacher to have so many great talents and personalities to teach. The shift is challenging but it’s just as gratifying to “build” a great musician from scratch as it is to help an advanced student with college auditions. Teaching one extreme to the next is an interesting experience for us; it keeps us on our toes!

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