If you’re like most other musicians you’ve had to do some teaching to supplement your gigging income. Maybe you hate it and view it as a necessary evil. I certainly did, until the lightbulb went off . . .
When I did my undergrad I was shocked by some of the incompetence of few professors at the university. And then when I did my diploma I saw the same thing, but worse!
Whether someone is doing or teaching, doesn’t mean they’re doing or teaching well.
I think what makes me most angry about the saying is that it undermines the many teachers who feel the calling to teach and do it well.
My guitar instructor at university was a stellar example of someone who could teach. He was also an award-winning classical guitar player. He was the first person who taught me how to teach though I was unaware of it at the time. When I eventually started teaching guitar, his teaching style naturally flowed out of me to my students, characterized by:
But the lightbulb hadn’t gone off yet. Teaching guitar still seemd a necessary evil until I got the performance part of my career sufficiently moving. I wanted to be playing full-time, not teaching. But then, a year or so later, people started noticing my teaching abilities and I started finding fulfillment in it. That’s when I realized teaching was equally important as performing, not a lesser vocation but a different one. In fact, some people say that until you are able to teach something, you don’t truly understand it.
If you’re teaching at the moment, or you’re thinking about it to supplement your gigging income:
- be client-centered
- be as good a teacher as you can be
For more practical tips on teaching, see What I Didn’t Learn From Mr. Perm