Thursday, 2 October 2008

and again

Teaching music can bring so much quality intellectual and emotional effort and reward. Even though I have a few students who mysteriously refuse to do any practice I enjoy teaching almost all of them, most of the time! But why have I not blogged about it before? Considering that most of my income comes from teaching the piano, that is rather odd. It's not as if there is no mental challenge, and anything that involves other people so closely is worth thinking and writing about... Anyway, here it is, a few random thoughts.

Sometimes my students inspire me to learn new pieces. That's a particularly good feeling.

The best student should surpass his teacher. I have yet to nurture somone past me, but perhaps that will come when I have been teaching a bit longer. The whole range of abilities from complete beginner to post-Grade 8 present their own challenges.

Occasionally I get asked to help people prepare for the aural tests, to sharpen their listening and singing and music-discussing skills. That's quite fun - though it often involves helping people do things that I can barely do myself. Yesterday I played through some Bach-Riemenschneider chorales with a couple from chuch who are auditioning for a high quality choir in Cambridge. Incredible music - incredibly challenging! The last time I really thought about Bach chorales was when I had to harmonise them for A-level. I would never attempt to teach anyone how to do that properly, i.e. idiomatically (though the principles of 4-part harmony I can pass on). Bach never does what you expect - he was too great a genius for that.

Wit and banter form a serious part of my lessons (on a good day). I'm more of a carrot teacher than a stick teacher, though looking at me one might be tempted to say I was both ;-)