Qualities of an effective music teacher


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Without any iota of doubt, you will believe with me that there are numerous musicians out there who have been tagged to be a music tutor, teacher, trainer, coach, and other noun and adjective used to qualify a person.

Whatever a musician chooses to be called, it’s all fine. I will choose to use the word music teacher in this post. There is something that needs to be addressed and given attention to in being a great music teacher. Regardless of whatever name you choose for yourself or your music school, you will need the information I’m about to show you to be one of the leading music tutors wherever you may find yourself.

Qualities of an effective music teacher

I will like to address some essential tips for being a great music teacher or tutor. If you are a professional teacher that seeks to be better and not just the old you, follow through to the end of this article. I will be answering questions such as; how do I inspire my students to do more? How do I stay relevant? How do I make my student stay with me and not go for another tutor? These questions and a lot more will be addressed in this article.

The following are the essential tips for being a good music tutor.

Passion: as a teacher, I believe you will always tell your students how that they should be passionate about what they do. How that they need to be more focused and remain inspired by what they’ve chosen to do. You need to understand that as a music teacher, you need to be one that is completely engrossed in what you do. I will say you need to be a music practitioner. A practitioner means someone who is actively involved and engaged in a specific discipline, art, or profession. As a teacher, you need to be engrossed in music to the extent that even at times when you are not with your students, you are still doing music- either through rehearsal or listening to other music pieces. The quality of passion sets the difference between an average teacher and an effective music teacher.

Be true to what you teach: there are many tutors out there that acquired their musical prowess in various ways. As a music tutor, you need to understand how you gained your musical knowledge; examine the flaws of your previous teacher; look for ways to improve your training pattern; and follow through with whatever you teach. If after carrying out a study on how you learned music, you discover there are some things to improve on- in the teaching pattern ensure you improve on them and apply those changes to yourself.

Be updated: never continue to use materials nor teach with the same method that was used many years ago; especially if there are new methods. Imagine a piano teacher teaching with the old John Thompson’s easiest piano course- that is an obscured material to teach in this modern day. That a material, was relevant years ago doesn’t mean it is still relevant now. Although, you could teach the unchanging basic and rudiment of your course with an old material; do not use solely an outdated material. Likewise, stay updated on teaching techniques that are relevant to the present day. The golden rule here is NEVER STOP LEARNING AND SEARCHING. 

Engage your students: if you’ve been teaching music for a few years now, you will understand with me that there are approaches needed for different sets of students. I need you to understand that the things that inspired you back in the days of your learning are not the same that will inspire your students now. There are new classics, composers, and musicians as to the days you began your career. Give your students proper knowledge of new musicians out there, let them share their mind with you. You might be surprised at what you will find if you expose your student to composer and musician that are alive.

Be a student too: you might be the best teacher in your environs or among your colleagues. Congrats on that; however, you need to know that there is no stopping to learning. Interacting and making contact with other teachers of your professional or art will help you learn a new perspective or methods that can be used in training students. Regardless of your level of expertise, you should not deny the fact that there is someone out there who might not be as good as you or is on the same level of prowess with you. Such a person can have a few ideas that you might need to consider.

Never stop playing or singing: I need you to do a little evaluation here. Remember how you will teach your students to cultivate a rehearsal culture, you tell them how important it is not to stop playing. Now ask yourself this question; compared to my best student who seems to have a constant rehearsal pattern, do I have a rehearsal pattern that is consistent too? Remember one of the points I made earlier that you need to practice what you preach. It is fine you spend lots of hours teaching, monitoring, and training your students, but do you spend equivalent time with your instrument? You might have truly spent a lot of time, in past time, playing your instrument and learning as a student, but now that you are a tutor do you still spend the same number of hours? You can be able to boldly say you’ve studied musicians of your time, but can you say you have also studied those that are just rising?

Push your students: you must bear this in your heart that “you have not succeeded as a music tutor if your students are as good as you”. The goal of any great music tutor is to produce students who are better than them. Don’t be afraid to make your students do exercise that you find quite difficult to do. Do not let your students fear the same thing you fear. Although I said you should practice what you preach, I am not saying do not let your student see beyond you. Enlighten your students to see that the art of music is beyond what you are teaching them and that they should be afraid to take up other areas that seem appealing to them.

Let me leave you with this. It takes years to be good at something, but it takes a lifetime to be a master of it. Regardless of your art, profession, or discipline, you need to understand that learning never ceases. 

Author: Ayokunnumi Oyelaran C.

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