Saturday, February 18, 2012

Reviving old times

I seem to have acquired a cello student. I spent some years teaching cello, though never many students at a time. I had a few students during my first stint in school, taught as part of my job in North Dakota, and then taught throughout the last stretch of graduate school (through the community music school at the conservatory and also as a teaching assistant for my teacher). I had a few students after that time, while I was working at my office job, but my heart wasn't in it at all. I finally just said the heck with it, I don't need this anymore, and quit teaching altogether.

I do kind of like teaching -- I mean, who doesn't like having people actually listen to what you have to say? --  but I haven't felt the world was burning to hear what I had to say about playing the cello. Also, at this point in my life, I'm more starved for time than money. So I haven't had a lot of motivation to get back into it.

A few months ago, I got an email from a violinist friend who had met an adult cellist who wanted to take lessons. So I sent the latter an email, explaining that I could teach her though I don't have a lot of time for it. After some more back and forth, we finally arranged a time for her to come to my house for an initial lesson.

It was weird, being in the teacher seat after all of my recent student experiences! But those experiences have really helped me understand what students want/need from a teacher. I'm afraid I was a little disorganized in that I didn't have any of my instructional stuff at hand, and also that I hadn't thought through how I would approach this. On the other hand, until you actually see and hear what someone is doing, you don't know what they are going to need, so maybe winging it a bit was okay. At least I know how to play, and I think I know how to explain it. Also, this was just supposed to be an informational meeting, and I didn't charge her for it. She must have felt it was worthwhile because she said she wanted to have regular lessons, so we set up a time for her to come back in two weeks. 

1 comment:

Bill said...

I'll bet you are a good teacher - you judging by the music you have posted (both cello and piano) you are a terrific musician. At least as important is that you seem to have a deep love of music and your new student must have picked up on that.

I have been self-teaching piano over the last few years to accompany myself singing. I'm pretty satisfied with my piano progress but decided I need professional help with my singing - I started singing lessons in November.

I'm old enough to get social security and have no aspirations to compete on American Idol but I have been really enjoying my lessons - in large part because my teacher, like you, is a terrific musician, (flute, piano, guitar, operatic voice). Also, like you, he loves music and it shows in his lessons.

I wish you well in this new endeavor.