Teaching music is a wonderful adventure, but it’s not always the easiest journey. Students struggle to learn the right technique and practice as diligently as they need to. When it comes to the brave few that teach musical instruments, there are more than a few nuggets of information to be gleamed.
1. You understand if it’s tedious, its probably good for you
Scales are one of the most painful and yet most useful exercises for music students. As a teacher, they are incredibly boring to work on, however all good music teachers know the pain is worth it. If your student can endure lots of scale exercises, that super technical piece later on will be infinitely less painful.
2. You have lots of beginning students and they are not exactly what you envisioned
As you were working on your music degree, you imagined your life as an instructor filled with prodigies. You were going to teach the best of the best. Instead, you’ve been handed an armful of beginners who hardly practice and remind you of nails on a chalkboard. At least the young ones are cute, right?
3. You are truly inspired by your student’s passion
Although your students may not have reached the prodigy level you were hoping for, their passion often compensates. When someone is truly excited to play an instrument, it reminds you of why you are in this business. It may not be every student who is bursting at the seams with excitement, but it’s enough to keep you trekking through the long hours of tortuous noise creation.
4. You have been told way too many times that your instrument causes pain
Not pain on the ears as much as pain to the player. Whether its a nasty mark on the neck from the violin or finger tip issues from the guitar, every instrument requires some physical trials – and wouldn’t you know it, every student you’ve had wants to come in and tell you all about it. The good news is the more you play through the pain, the better you will be, so that whiny start to the lesson does not necessarily terminate productivity.
5. You have seen people from all ranks of society inhabit the music store
Whether you are renting a rehearsal space from your local store or just need to spend some time gathering supplies, the people you meet are sure to leave an impression. You can find everybody from the neighborhood stoner to the soccer mom looking to get her child started on the right musical path in life. People from all over the socioeconomic spectrum eventually find their way to the music store.
6. You know every business trip involves extra luggage
No matter what instrument you play, anywhere you need to go for business it will need to follow. For those playing string bass this is going to be quite the challenge, but for those with the piccolo it may not be so troubling. Once you start your journey you become paranoid about the well-being of your instrument. You would prefer to keep it in sight at all times. If anything happens to that sucker, you might have to borrow another horn – a terrible thought indeed.
7. You have to motivate students not to give up almost every day
Learning an instrument is a ton of hard work. As a good teacher, you’ve got to help your students keep the motivation alive. There are no short cuts, just reassurances that it’s all worth it and a few pep talks from the instructor. Some students don’t have what it takes to make that happen, but you always do your best to give each student a fighting chance.
8. You own multiple pairs of ear plugs
Sure, some days it’s to avoid the pain of hearing the full depth of another murdered scale, but mostly its to protect your hearing. As exciting as it can be to teach music, it can be a rather loud and noisy experience. After hours and hours of such instruction, it can be quite a challenge to protect a music lover’s most precious asset: the ability to hear. Thus, you keep a handy set of ear plugs nearby for almost every session. You always take a bit of time to explain the phenomenon to the student, but you know its worth your health.
9. You love seeing a student play their first recital
Most students are incredibly stressed about their debut performance. While their performance may not be spot on the first time, its great to see the student work through that fear and perform. This is a great sign of their dedication and the future possibilities in their musical career.
10. You have extra equipment everywhere
When students begin working with a new instrument, they often need a lot of help making sure its working correctly. As the teacher, you’ve got every kind of repair material possible. You’ve also got some extra stands, strings, tuners, metronomes and tons of other trade tricks to help whatever technical situation arises. If the horn is causing the problem, you’ve got what’s needed to fix it.
11. You can instantly recite the many reasons musical education is critical to a healthy life
Not only do you know everything on this list, you know all kinds of local and regional statistics. Its no mystery that music performance has therapeutic as well as academic benefits. When you find the doubters, you know how to drop some serious knowledge.
Featured photo credit: dankreider via pixabay.com