A Day in the life of a Music Teacher
I've said it before, and I'll say it again....
Being a music teacher is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world!
It's not all instrument focused. Nope! In fact, for us, it is more about the personal change and growth we see in our students. That's the real beauty of it all, and it is what drives us to spend our personal time outside of lessons developing content for our students.
Contrary to popular belief, being a music teacher/tutor/mentor (whatever you want to call it), does not involve going to class, conducting a lesson, and then going home. Instead, we spend hours before and after class sourcing, planning and preparing content for our students out of love and the pure desire of wanting them to succeed.
Each student is so different, so for us to recycle the same approach time and time again will only result in shonky music journeys that are short lived and not inspiring at all!
So, what does the life of a music teacher look like? Today, I am going to give you a little glimpse into our top secret life!
Before each class, your music teacher will spend a large amount of time preparing for your half an hour of fun and creativity with them that week. They will spend time contemplating and setting goals around your current content and any new content that they may want to introduce the next time they see you.
Speaking of new content - they need to find that, too. And trust me when I say it is not an easy task! There are so many variations of songs out there...
What is the skill level of the song? What new skills is it introducing? Is it appropriate to introduce these new skills now? Does this song showcase skills that you need to work on? Is this the right platform for you to learn these new skills? Can I find this online, or do I need to go to the shops? How else can I introduce these new skills? What other exercises can I create to help with that skill?
... the questions your teacher asks themselves goes on and on.
Your teacher has to be the master of innovation and spontaneity during class! You see, we are never 100% sure of what we are going to be faced with in that lesson. You may come in eager to learn and ready to tackle the hard stuff! Or, you may have had a tough week and are feeling really tired and run down. You may be in no frame of mind to tackle that difficult technical passage. This is why I'm not a huge advocate for strict lesson plans. They usually go out the window in the first 5 minutes!
Your teacher needs to be on their toes at all times. They are engaged in intense critical thinking whilst watching, listening and comprehending every aspect of your playing.
Was that the right timing? Are you using the correct tempo? Could we have some dynamic variation in there? Perhaps we need to work on the expression in that phrase. Was the melody singing over the accompaniment? How do we fix that? How do I get them to think about how they would fix that if I wasn't sitting here with them?
If your teacher is not 100% engaged in your playing, they will not be able to give you appropriate feedback and direction to keep guiding you forward. Basically, they cannot switch off or drift away at all while they are teaching or they may miss something important!
After your class, your teacher will usually take some time to write down some notes about what happened in class that day. They will use these notes to help them formulate their goals and content for you for the next week. Then the cycle starts all over again!
Being a music teacher is more than spending 30 minutes with you a week. You teacher constantly thinks about what you want to achieve and how they can help you get there. They do this quietly and out of love. They want to see you succeed no matter what it takes on their part. Every time you achieve a goal, it fires them up again to strive for the next one.
So next time you see your music teacher, send a little love their way for all the time they spent on you while you were away that week. I can guarantee they will love you for it even more!