A performer, composer and arranger, I pride myself in being a career music educator first.
When I was at high school there were two subjects I was very interested in, chemistry and music. My chemistry teacher was very well prepared and would routinely hand us pages of notes to read or memorise or have us copy pages of notes into our books. There was very little experimentation or discovery, he was making sure we had all of the information we needed to pass our end of year exams.
My music teachers (I had two) took different approaches. One of them, my clarinet teacher, would give me 5 or 6 different pieces of music every week to play. They would vary in standard from what I could sight read to very advanced music. Our lessons would consist of him then allowing me to come back to him with specific technique questions and other problems I had with the pieces he had given me the previous week. I was allowed to learn at my own pace!
My classroom music teacher had told me at the beginning of the year that he didn’t have the time to teach me what I needed to know, because I had started music so late (I didn’t start until the second to last year of high school). Once again, I knew what I had to learn for the end of year exams, so I went away and would come back with specific questions regarding this. I also had the opportunity to learn at my own pace and to make discoveries myself.
The results at the end of the year was chemistry was my worst grade and music my best. My first lesson about teaching was:
“The teacher is the Guide. Learning starts with the student.”