It is interesting that when choosing a university, you are having to delve into the instruction and style of pedagogy of a particular professor. From what I’ve seen most of the time - for non music majors - the professors "private teachers" are not as important as they are for young musicians studying to be pros. When I was a university student, I wish I could have spent more time figuring out what type of education I wanted in music and not just finding a school that would take me - a default that many high schoolers who are in the predicament of having to look for colleges completely on their own - It winds up becoming, “I’ll go wherever they take me!”
At that time in my life, I needed to be a driver, not a passenger, and that is why I am writing this blog. I want you to be a driver and not waste precious time wandering around and not getting things done that will take you where you want to go (i.e. Passenger to nowhere).
One of the most powerful work a teacher can accomplish is when they become a mentor or coach who helps students achieve the learning goal. To me, that is what teaching is all about. A teacher who uses this strategy allows his/her students to work together and think, question and share information — using their collective skills and expertise to accomplish academic challenges for everyone involved. It is a win-win situation and is, by far, my favorite way to work with students.
There is so much competition in music that I feel that it tears the art into who wins and who loses instead of creating something meaningful and beautiful. (Which is what music is all about.) I am positive that one of the root causes of this predicament is the lack of work for musicians. According to Cause IQ, there are approximately 1,711 symphony orchestras in the U.S. How many music students are entering college every year hoping to graduate and get into a symphony orchestra? Your guess is as good as mine but I’d be willing to bet that it is a LOT MORE than 1,711!
As a student, your teen will need help from a seasoned musician who knows how to teach, how to learn and how to audition and get into the place they want to be in the future. Don’t waste your time in college. Get your teen into the right place at the right time with the right professor.
Mastering the art and producing the art is an important aspect of learning so when I look for a great teacher, whether or not the professor allows this type of learning in his/her studio is my first indication of whether I would like to attend (and pay money for) the education that the professor provides.
I have studied music for a long time and have dealt with many types of professors and noticed one thing in particular. Professors have the ability to really mess things up for you so be very careful who you choose! And remember to do your research. I cannot stress this enough. It takes a lot of time and effort to transfer schools or to get out of a “cult” like situation that some college professors create. I strongly suggest you do not get into that situation in the first place.
Take that trial lesson and remember that you are auditioning the teacher to find the best fit for your teen.
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