Friday, October 25, 2013

Year 4: Week 8 – Putting The Teacher In Music Teacher

Once upon a time I was a musician, but now I’m a teacher.

Within the community of music teachers there is a wide variety. There are some teachers who only teach because they aren’t financially stable otherwise and there are music teachers, who teach not as a fall back from playing professionally, but as their profession and true love.

These are two sides of spectrum and many teachers fall somewhere in-between their devotion to their art as a musician and their love of teaching.

Is being a great musician and a fantastic teacher mutually exclusive? Can you have both? Sure, of course, but even if you find someone who has both qualities, in order for them to become a master teacher, their musicianship needs to take a back seat to their passion as a teacher.

If you asked me about why I wanted to be a teacher when I first started teaching I would probably talk to you about my passion for music. This is not as much in the forefront of my brain. Especially after the years that I taught special education (which I talked about in this previous post), I realized that I would still be a teacher even if I didn’t teach music. The only reason I teach music is because it’s my personal area of expertise. I wonder how many other music teachers feel this way?

I know I’m not a great musician. I don’t play any instrument good enough to gig professionally, I don’t have the ears to  evaluated an advanced high school or college group and what I studied in college, music composition, is something I have no desire to pursue any longer.

However, I’m all about talking to other teachers about the ways children develop, reading about innovative ways that music teachers relate to their students and writing arrangements for my students to perform. As much as I love music, I love getting to know my students even more.

If being a teacher is a close second to being a musician for you, it doesn’t stand in you way of being a great teacher. However if brings a perspective to your craft that places what you teach over who you teach. For some circumstances this could really connect with your students but in many others it will not hold up over the long run.

For me it wasn't an active choice but a mindset that evolved over time.   I wanted to be a great musician at a certain point and then I wanted to be a master teacher.

Now, I just want to be for my students, a present caring force in their life first and a teacher second. 

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