Teaching and Performing – Sending the Right Message

In a previous post, I wrote about not differentiating between performing and teaching; their similarities far outweigh their differences.

I had another thought on this subject.

The community’s general message about teaching has to change.

The current message treats teaching as a mere subsidy.  “Since performance opportunities are few and far between, musicians need to find a teaching gig to support themselves.” This is a familiar message to young students and young artists.  They’re encouraged to think about teaching solely as a financial responsibility rather than an artistic one.

This is the wrong message.

Teaching should be treasured, encouraged and promoted as a meaningful, artistic endeavor just as performing is.

Occasionally, I get the opportunity to meet someone who teaches music to pre-schoolers. When meeting these teachers, I usually say something like: “You get to teach 5 year olds?  What a privilege!  Tell me all about it!”

Teachers have a greater impact on the world than they realize.  Sure, it’s difficult to appreciate this when they’re dealing with a room full of rowdy teenagers, or slacker university students, but it’s a fact that teachers shape the world with influence equal to that of superstar artists performing on the world stage.

Kids and students are the future.  We’ll need good teachers to shape that future.

Let’s start sending the right message:

Teaching is a privilege.

Leave a Reply