Many people would list being a musician as their dream job. Teaching the artform is a close second. Private teaching is a very rewarding experience thanks to the challenge that comes with trying to simultaneously educate and inspire a young musician. Just like their students, teachers must seek to constantly improve. This is a challenge because many teachers get complacent as they find a method that works.
Complacent teachers can sometimes turn into bad teachers. Students can sense their boredom. If a young student doesn’t think they’re teacher cares, why should they? If you are a teacher that is having trouble staying inspired check out these following tips to improve teaching methods.
Listen to new music – Don’t let the music your students are playing become the only music you’re listening to. First of all, they’re probably not very good musicians, meaning you won’t like it. Second, new and exciting music is an ideal way to gain musical energy. Constantly challenge your ear and you will constantly improve your student’s energy. The best way to prevent stagnation through constant activity, including just listening to music for fun. No one gets into music as a boring career choice. They do it because they love it.
Perform – It is also true that no one gets into music just because they want to be a teacher. You probably fell in love with music because you enjoy performing. Sometimes, teachers become complacent about performing and don’t do it for years. This can cause them to get stagnant. Try to get out and perform at least once a month. It is even a good idea to invite your students to come watch you perform. This helps inspire them and give them a goal to strive for when practicing. I know all of my favorite teachers are also performers.
Books – I know a piano teacher that is still teaching out of the same books they started with 25 years ago. This is generally a bad idea. There are constantly new music workbooks for teaching being released. World-class teachers perpetually read them in order to gain new techniques and teaching tricks. The best teachers take something little from everyone they meet and everything they read.
Teaching is not the final step. It is just another step in the journey of musicianship. The best educators are the best learners. They strive to improve and learn even more than their pupils.