Is Time Really on My Side?

October 4, 2017

Pedagogy

I used to think I had so much time with a new guitar student. Four years of guitar study seems like a really long time. Early in my teaching career I realized this was not completely true. I actually had very little time with my guitar students over four years of study.

A one-hour lesson over 16 weeks translates to 16hrs of instruction. Over four years, I would only be teaching a student the equivalent of 5.3 days, 128 hours of face-to-face instruction. This realization forced me to rethink how, and what, I teach.

What changed for me:

  1. Everything I teach must serve an immediate and future purpose.
    You need to know what a specific “thing” looks like when your student leaves the studio. What does the musical skill need to do, be, accomplish? This determines the what and how. While this seems logical, it is often missing in the studio.

  2. Everything I teach must form the musical person I see at the end.
    What music do they need to be listening to? How does this person need to live musically? How do this person need to music with others? In essence, you are teaching a student what it means to “be” the musician you see at the end. This teaching occurs in every interaction and lesson.

  3. Everything I do must model that musical person I see.
    If I am training performers, then I need to model performance. If I am training scholars, then I need to be producing scholarship. My actions cannot betraying my teaching.

Time is a precious commodity. I have found the only way to multiply time in the studio is to teach and model to the end result, not necessarily the immediate problem or concern.

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