My college teacher told us over and over that his goal was to put himself out of a job! What???

Understanding was gradual for me. I needed his help and mentoring pretty desperately because I didn’t have a very good classical background when I entered music school. As I began to gain skills and confidence, I realized that he wanted us to make the decisions and be in charge and not to be dependent on someone else’s opinions. I want this for my students too.

That said, my teacher did not hesitate to give his opinion when our decisions landed us in trouble—sometimes forcefully. I did inherit this forceful correction and I feel it is right. I do try to tell them the good about what they are doing first.

I want my students to make decisions, learn, discover and apply concepts and skills. This is creative practice. But just because you make something doesn’t mean it is good. Students need to know where their process is working and where it isn’t and why.

When a teenage or adult student stops lessons, I am usually at peace with their decision. Generally it is because they have gotten what they wanted and needed. They have learned how to learn and how to explore music. They are empowered to go it on their own.

Whenever I needed a teacher, the right one was always there for me. I know that when they are ready to explore more deeply the right teacher will be there to help them.




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