Chris Donnelly vs. Keith Jarrett

I lose…obviously.

But consider this:

A student of mine was frustrated because she thought her fingers lacked control, speed and precision.  So she really wanted to improve her technique. Ultimately, she wanted perfect technique.

I replied that having a goal of perfect technique – as she’s describing it – is not a realistic goal.  Instead, her goal should be: “to play beautiful music.”  Playing beautiful music presupposes that one has perfect technique.  This way, you accept what your fingers can and can’t do, and create music within those limitations.

She left the lesson not convinced.  The next week, she returned and told me that she had an epiphany.  It involved Keith Jarrett and this video:

After watching this, she realized that part of playing beautiful music is in knowing how to play within your physical limitations.  This is the quote that moved her:

“Charlie is a unique being who plays bass with all his heart.  He should be a role model for anyone who’s interested in bass.  He stays within his abilities.  And so many people take so many risks that they end up losing it in the middle.”

I said: “Funny…that’s exactly what I told you last week!”

Creative Teaching vs. Selfish Teaching

Obviously, I failed to get the message across.  I should have pulled up this YouTube video during the first lesson.  That would have been creative teaching!

Considering that Keith and I said the exact same thing, I could have gotten frustrated with my student.  “Weren’t you listening last week!?”  That would have been selfish.

I understand that Keith Jarrett is more engaging than I am.  Teachers should observe, respect and utilize whatever engages their students.

The message is what’s important, not the source of the message.

Side Note: If I did show my student that YouTube video during the first lesson, who would have got the credit for her epiphany? Keith or Chris?  I think Keith wins again; teachers are under-appreciated.


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