Teaching is embracing chaos
I have a friend who’s considering becoming a music teacher. He is someone I admire. He works out every day, he never skips. He doesn’t spend time on his phone, he reads. He practices his instrument thoroughly and he’s great at his current job, highly regarded by his boss. He’s balanced in all things, whether it’s his diet or his social life.
He is in two bands. One is very disciplined. They do one new song per month, they all practice their parts, they all come prepared to rehearsal which happened like clock work every week, with nobody missing. My friend (Let’s call him Bob), feels great about that band. It ticks all the boxes about what music should be. He’s always very proud to tell me their latest accomplishment, their upcoming gig. The other band, or Band B, is much different. People don’t prepare their parts as diligently, they don’t show up for rehearsal either, they drag their feet to study new material and they spend a good amount of time socializing versus playing. Bob, to put it mildly, doesn’t like that. He doesn’t understand that people can chose to do something and not sustain their motivation. In Bob’s mind, if you say you’re going to do something, just do it!
That’s where his state of mind would clash with teaching.
Because people are chaotic. They might decide one day to study the drums, pay a teacher, practice, even join a band, and six months later, have their determination sag. Oh, they’ll keep taking the lessons, they’ll even stay in the band, but their heart is not in it as much as it used to be. So, what are they waiting for, asks Bob? Why aren’t they dropping their hobby and quitting the band? I do not know, I confess. Not that I do not know at all, but it could be catalog of factors as to why people keep the shell of their hobby without the inhabitant of their dedication in it. It could be because there’s a new show on Netflix that they are binge watching. Or they just met the love of their life. Or they got a new dog, and it’s hard to practice when your drum sticks are all chewed up. For these people, the situation that prevents them from being invested in music is just temporary. It’ll pass, they think, so why should they stop?
Bob doesn’t get that. If something is confusing, do something about it, as in: solve the stuff that’s confusing to make it not as confusing. That’s solving a problem according to Bob.
So, teaching music in all of that? I don’t think so. Music is a luxury for most student. They do it because they want to, but they all know they do not have to. That subtle difference is lost on Bob, dear Bob.
I haven’t had the heart to tell him yet. I hope he doesn’t read this blog, it would break his heart, and I don’t want that. Teaching is embracing chaos, not just accepting it but going with it, sometimes even using it. There are no two ways about it. Teaching is touching with your finger the complexity of the human race. Anything can happen, anything will happen: embrace it.
P.S: Yes, I put a picture of Keith Moon on this blog. I think it’s just perfect to illustrate that chaos does produce some magical things.