Teaching Music – a crazy way to make a living!

Teaching music is an interesting way to live. Not only do you have to
constantly deal with upgrading your skills, but you have to somehow
present this very intangible art to people of various ages in such a way
that they can figure out how to program their brain to work their fingers
to create sounds that match what the symbols on the page represent.

My oldest student right now is in her 30s. I have several 5 year olds,
several in elementary school, and not a few teenagers (both high school
and college). They each take a different approach – not only because of
personality diferences, but because of sheer stage-of-life issues.

The adults require a lot of encouragement – I try to point out where
things are getting better. Adults are very aware of where they are in the
process – “I play at this level, and Bruce Hornsby plays like this. Man, I
am a far cry from there, and the going is tough”.

The kids just care about right now. “I have THIS piece to learn. Maybe
he’ll pass me on it today”. I have to constantly keep them on track –
sometimes allowing them to talk, sometimes to improvise, sometimes tugging
on the elash to get them to play the assigned pieces.

The college kids are a unique mixture in-between.

To paraphrase James Dobson – Teaching isn’t for cowards. You have to care
enough to constantly analyze the situation – both the life and musical
situations – compute how to present the solution tot he issue at hand,
figure out how to creatively present the solution (this might relate to a
practice technique you TELL them about, or you WRITE about it, or you
discuss it, or you demonstrate it and then they try it…….).

Then add technology to the mix………..!

No wonder I’m tired after a day of teaching.

Wait, I CAN”T be tired tonight. Time to go to rehearsal. Gotta keep those
skills up!


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