Teaching something to someone is not easy. It’s all about communication. If the rapport between the student and the teacher is good, the chances of the student learning rises significantly. But then, there are the concepts. By that, I mean the different topics that need to be addressed in order to get to the next step in piano or drums. That’s always the difficult part, especially if, like me, you don’t do cookie cutter kind of teaching but you have decided to tailor every lesson to the player in front of you according to their level, their age, their mood, etc… It can become very complex very fast.
When I have a difficult concept to cover, I first gauge what is going on with the student. That’s number one. She decide how it’s going to go. Then, I approach said topic carefully. I must be ready to repeat three or four times the same things, be ready to demonstrate the exercise, to put it into a musical set up or sentence. I also have to have something written to hand out. Some people are more visual, some are more driven by audio, some need to touch, I need to be prepared to jump from one way to the other without missing a beat (Haha!). Because! Because I need, most of all, to not make it look like this is complex, difficult or dry. The more relax I stay and the less they see the work, the more open they will be to absorb the knowledge I presented.
I like complex subjects in music, they keep me on my toes. And I am happy to report that it’s extremely rare that my students “don’t get it”. They always understand what they are supposed to do, even if they’re not able to do it right away. I think it has happened maybe twice in 30 years of teaching. Like I said: rare.
Complexity is a great subject to tackle for a teacher, it keeps our educational muscles going.