“Our new teacher didn’t know as much as she said she did, so we gave her young beginners students…”
Is this what you would want to hear that was being said behind the scenes about the teacher entrusted to your child’s (or your own) initial steps into leaning to play an instrument?
There’s skill involved in teaching beginners. There’s skill involved in teaching young children. And there’s skill involved in selecting the right materials at the right time to both scaffold and support, and to challenge music students. This is true at any point in their learning.
We LOVE teaching beginners. As both a teacher and a mother, I reflect back on my amazement and joy when my child mastered the very early milestones of life. “She learned how to roll over! Miraculous!”
As a teacher of beginners, both kids and adults, I get that same buzz when a student masters a new skill, or understands a new concept. I sometimes think back to my first teaching experiences in my twenties. A friend-of-a-friend asked me to teach their child, because they knew I could play. My approach then was RADICALLY different. Rather haphazard, without much of a structure. No clear plan of what building blocks to start with, and what to work on next. Without an approach to fix technique problems. No mindset of how to support, guide and inspire students towards practice techniques that get results.
As my little school expands, and I bring other treasured teachers into the fold, I know what to look for. Playing skills are a given, but I also want to see that spark of “Yes! the student gets it now!” And I’m using my teaching and mentoring skills there too; developing the teaching skills of my staff, providing excellent materials for them to teach from, supporting and mentoring them to further develop as teachers who support, guide and inspire.