Teaching is an essential part of me as a musician
Whether it’s sitting in deep discussion about curriculum or pedagogy with post graduate students or standing on the podium in front of a 5th grade band, what I do mostly is teach.
Teaching is an essential part of me as a musician. It helps me understand some of what I do and it passes on the fundamentals for others to use and share.
I teach conducting and the art of conducting is about communication, and a good teacher is a good communicator.
I teach composition and composers, I believe, are trying to communicate as well. When I compose I may be sharing a story about my life and those in it, or, I might be making a new work for young musicians to ‘tell a story’, or mature musicians to engage an audience. Composing is about communicating and teaching is about communicating as well.
I teach people how to teach and, in doing so, I learn about teaching and about learning. I have found it easy to teach while I am working as a conductor but I have had to work hard to learn how to teach others to do what comes naturally to me. How do I teach 6/8 time when I have never had trouble reading it? How do I teach sight reading when sight reading has never troubled me? When a child is struggling to achieve, I am often able to assess when to let them alone and when to prod them to move ahead. How do I teach another person how to do that?
Teaching is a great privilege. Teaching is learning on the job. Teaching is a journey, and I still have a long road ahead of me…