Teaching and Playing Are Not the Same Art Forms....

It is common to assume that a lady who plays her instrument well is an equally great teacher.

However, upon closer examination, it is quickly realized that playing an instrument and teaching another person how to play the same instrument are two completely different art forms.

There are some principles that equally apply to all the arts

  • Study the theoretical ideas and the history of the art
  • 10,000 hours... and then another 10,000 hours on skills development and mastery
  • Exploration, creation, and innovation
  • Sharing the art form with others (Cuz what good is a piece of hidden art?)

Such things are true for the practitioner of each art form.  These principles extend to athletes, accountants, doctors, mechanics, and any profession that enables a lady to devote years of study and practice to the development of her skills.  For the sake of brevity, let's focus on the art of teaching as it is an art form that's been fascinating the drummer for a few years now!

Props to my pops here: he shared the following


"When a student does not understand the concept you are teaching, it is not the student's fault."


This one liner offers massive insight into the true art of teaching.  It is the fine art of making information fit for another person's consumption AND practical application!

The coach has a vast array of knowledge and skills cuz the coach is a life-long practitioner of the craft.  What value does that offer a student when those concepts and skills are not broken down into digestible chunks of knowledge and information a student can use to improve her skills?

Teaching music is the multi-faceted art of communicating, demonstrating, analyzing, judging, problem solving, and inspiring and motivating.  It demands the following...

  • The ability to adapt to the way each student absorbs and processes information
  • The ability to convert abstract concepts into concrete ideas so a student appreciates the value of the concept and its application
  • The ability to read a student's response and adjust your approach quickly
  • The ability to grow and foster a relationship
  • The ability to guide your student through those times of frustration and self-doubt.
  • The ability to be critical of your student's performance (cuz you want your student to get more gooder) without destroying your student's character.
  • Oh yeah... and then there is the ability to keep it engaging, inspiring, and or entertaining each week too.

Some of these skills may be picked up as a musician, like the ability to read an audience and adapt the performance to better fit the audience.  Most of these attributes require the willing participation of both the student and the coach.  Thus it becomes a dance of knowledge, where one leads and the other WILLINGLY follows.  Trust must be built cuz this a relationship... it is a dialogue that is sustained with words and actions from both participants.

What would you add to this list of attributes a teacher, instructor, and or coach should strive to master as a true practitioner of the art of teaching?

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