Been a while since my last post.. was a good Xmas but I really need to find time and energy to write these blog posts every week… new years resolution coming on…… (whiskey by the fire every weekend with laptop on my knee… thats got to be the way….)
Anyhow todays blog is about teaching… I haven’t been doing much of it recently. Even though I advise on teaching in schools as part of my job, other work has taken over and I haven’t been doing any musical teaching for the past six months. But previous to that my teaching has all been based in schools for many years.
But teaching is a good thing…. so I have been trying to address this and today I started teaching my first private pupil for 6 years.
First off… part of the reason I started to stop teaching privately at home is that (anybody who knows me will vouch for this!) my house can be a bit of “chaotic’ at times. So part of the ritual of teaching pupils at home is spending an hour or so before the pupil arrive tidying up, hovering, moving muddy bikes from my studio etc… I am not sure how the economics of this will work out… But it is good to have a reason to sort things out… My music room has not looked so sparklingly lovely for a long time!
Today my new pupil was an adult learner. She came along full of enthusiasm and keen to learn. A library of new tutor books under her arm and a brand new saxophone that had been a christmas present at the ready.
A lot of the teaching I have done in the recent past has been in schools, in groups and in short compact lessons. The luxury of having a single pupil for a whole half hour is something I haven’t been used to for a while. The lesson raced past, but we could cover so much ground with time, in a good space with no distractions around, and no pressure from the next pupils waiting at the door, (or me worrying that they weren’t ready at the door)
My new pupil did really well, she got the a really good tone, and got her fingerings without too much effort. We looked at some basic notated music, and we even looked at some articulation, which was all in place ready for her to work at before the next session. A model lesson!
I was at home, I was relaxed, I had not time pressures. I had a pupil who was keen and had the right equipment. I had coffee on tap. I had a good musical space with all the equipment and resources I needed around me. It was bound to be a good lesson. But in a way it was a bit easy… Having been away from private teaching for so long I can see the benefits and the draw as a way of earning a living. But what about inclusion versus elitism.
I have blogged about Patrick Costello and his Dad who have passed on to me so much of their musical learning recently. And I do feel a need to pass on the favours on in some way. However having thought about I can’t think of a good way to offer free lessons to any takers without somehow demeaning what I do (people value things by what they cost…) but also being faintly suspicious to those who might be interested but don’t know me.
However if you happen to read this and you are interested give me a shout and I will happily give you a lesson (over Skype or here in Sussex) for free. Just let me know and we will see what happens!