October 29, 2011 at 6:02 AM
The emotion that goes into private teaching has to be one of the hardest things to learn how to deal with. It's different from a school teacher who already knows from the get-go that they have students for a set amount of time. A private music teacher should, ideally, be taking students with the intention of teaching them over a long period of time.
So much focus tends to fall on the student's struggles. How is the student progressing? What are the student's goals? Should the student be with this teacher or that teacher? Very rarely is the teacher as a person even considered in all of this. They are simply "the teacher."
Yes, it is the teacher's job to be "the teacher" rather than "a friend." But private teaching is not an easy task. It requires an enormous amount of energy to try and keep a student motivated when the student is so clearly losing interest. Being connected enough to share a laugh with a student but at the same time being able to let go when the student wants to move on is always rough.
Most experienced teachers know that there are usually many outside forces that contribute to a student's decision to quit. But it still feels like a bit of a teaching failure when they do. At the same time, a teacher can't help but feel proud when a student has a major playing milestone.
The intent of this is not to rant; merely to make the non-teachers aware of both sides of the coin. And to ask that if you appreciate your teacher, you should tell them every once in awhile. Teachers need encouragement too!
This was more just of a general observation. I'll hear people talking about their music teachers like they are fad diets or something. Like, maybe they'll try a new one next week because the current one is working fast enough.
Music doesn't work like that. It's going to be a long term process for both the student AND the teacher.
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