being a music teacher

16 Feb

I’ve learned that some guitar teachers are alike. We will play in front of other people and to our students, but we don’t particularly like to. Jared, the owner of DMM asked me to play something on my guitar. I tensed up and nervously played for him. He admitted he doesn’t like playing in front of others. Then I thought of how my previous guitar teacher, Jeremy wrote in an e-mail saying he didn’t play for his students enough. Now that it’s out in the open, I’m happy to know that other guitar teachers also don’t like playing for an audience.

I was having a conversation with Jared and Tina. I like being in a community of other music teachers. I like this exchange of information between musicians. Jared was surprised that I use a guitar pick on my classical guitar and I mostly use finger style when I’m in an open tuning. Tina and I talked about studio time and the challenges within staying under time limits. I like having these music conversations between music teachers.

In a biology TA meeting, Dave, my biology professor once said how he doesn’t believe in the word ‘teaching’. Teachers don’t really teach. Teachers are more of a guide to discovery and this has become my belief as well. I have learned more from students than what they have probably learned from me. Before teaching each lesson, I go over areas I’ve learned before and other areas I’m not familiar with. Every time a student asks me questions, a familiar idea turns into a new perspective I’ve never thought of before. I’m learning about different styles of music. I’m adjusting to the fact that not everyone listens to the same music as me. I know nothing about reggae and now it’s time to learn more than ‘Three Little Birds’ and Bob Marley.  To ‘teach’ is to learn more than I had ever expected.

I’ve thought about how music teachers can become psychologists or therapists in the same way bartenders are psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists. The personality of a music teacher has everything to do with setting the environment and mood for students. Weekly updates and checking in with how students are doing is similar to counseling sessions. I’ve thought about how Jeremy was my mentor in music, as well as my mentor in life. He would simply ask me big questions about life and what I want to do in the future. I’ve never known the answers and I still don’t know, but I told him my dreams that I’ve never told anyone else. Now that I’m a music teacher, I think my piano student sees me as their guidance in their work career and life in general. Looking a year back, I think of how the tables have turned and I’m now experiencing the other side. I’m still a student, but now I look through the glass as a teacher role.


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