A Music Teacher Affects Eternity
The importance of finding the right music teacher.
Blog post by Mike Vaccaro.
"We all sound like someone else before we find our own sound." This quote by Mike Vaccaro will make sense to you when you are a musician, teacher, or amateur player. In this article Mike Vaccaro, a professional musician, teacher, entrepreneur, and author of The Music Business Course, is elaborating further on this fascinating matter.
The teacher can recognize correct and incorrect tangents.
A good teacher can give students enough to work on in one lesson to last them for many years. The reason to return to that teacher regularly is that the student can't remember all the subtleties taught. In addition, this regular study allows the teacher to refine the student's needs. It also forces the student to prepare for the weekly lesson. Therefore, it cannot be put off.
Another purpose of regular study is to bring the student back to the path of optimal learning. Any good student who can think independently will constantly be taking side paths to find their own answers; this is a good thing. The teacher can recognize correct and incorrect tangents the student may be taking and advise where a specific path may be folly.
For those students selecting a college, it is most preferential to find out who the private instructor will be and travel to the city and take a lesson. This could help in the selection of a school.
For those students contemplating a career as a professional musician, it is helpful to find a teacher that can be of some assistance professionally when the student attains some mastery of the instrument. The first consideration, however, is the quality of teaching and the teacher’s understanding of the subject matter.
If there is a musician that the student admires so much that they want to emulate that person, the student should make every effort to find that person and ask for lessons, even if this is only possible on a part-time basis. If student wants to learn a particular style of music, they should try to find a teacher in that specialty.
We all sound like someone else before we find our sound. At least most of us. Learning is a natural process.
We all learn at our speed. Accelerated learning is most effective when supervised and practiced. A teacher, a mentor, or a peer can help us by example with inspiration, motivation, and the discipline necessary for accelerated learning. Select wisely!
Practice, practice, practice
Teachers should practice in front of their students as most students don't know how to practice! So they either stop and don't practice the complicated phrases or gloss over them.
To see their teacher learn difficult phrases helps them learn how to approach complex music and that the teacher, and all of us, are constantly confronting music we don't know. When the student learns that the teacher is fighting the same battle they are, though at a much more technical level, a bond is created and an understanding that we are all in the struggle together.
Psychological understanding of people is crucial.
‘The job of an educator is to teach students to see vitality in themselves.’ –Joseph Campbell.
The psychological understanding of people is crucial for a teacher to have a repour with a student. Every student as a person brings many complex combinations of factors and thoughts to a lesson. That includes home life, school life, life experiences, love of music, habits, and even how they came out of the womb.
Just look; everyone looks so different. And each person thinks and acts differently, too. They even know if a student learns by listening and rote or as a reader of music enters the student/teacher relationship. Introverts and extroverts need to be taught differently.
A study of psychology is essential for a teacher to pursue. So many teachers teach the same way their teachers taught them, similar to a parent-child relationship. That is not enough.
Teachers must see the inner student. How the student learns and how the student perceives is essential. Is the student a winner/loser mentality, or do they want to study music for its intrinsic value? They may even see fame as a reason to study.
Whatever is in a student’s concept is essential for the teacher to understand to help facilitate the best learning possible. The psychology of a 9-year-old student might differ from the same student when they are 20.
The psychological study of people and learning music is a lifelong study. So, I invite teachers to formally study psychology and music to be the best teacher they can be.
Settle into a pace of improvement and growth
One last thing I had on my mind that Noa Kagayama reminded me of. We all have negative thoughts about ourselves for one reason or another. It might be something someone said to us that was critical, or it might be a disappointment that only we know about. The idea is that each time we have a negative assessment of ourselves, we must first recognize it, then confront it. If it is true, it is in the past, so forgive yourself and look forward. If it is not, truly recognize the fact and move on. The thoughts may come up again. Dismiss them again.
The future is where we are going, not the past!
In review, let me say that the student/teacher relationship is the most important music relationship we are likely to have.
Be happy with where you are while trying to get where you want to be.
It is easy to be impatient! However, one must remember that music, art, and life itself are growth experiences.
One of the greatest artists I ever encountered was a gardener at a hotel I was staying at in Phoenix, AZ, in the mid-1970s. He tended the courtyard daily to create one of the most beautiful environments I have ever seen. I think he knew every blade of grass, every leaf, and every living thing in the courtyard intimately and with love. He owned the “art spirit.”
Some people “get it” sooner than others, but no one is exempt from the journey or the growth that music, art, and life provide.
So, if we are patient and can plan a focused and consistent method of practice and/or training, we can settle into a pace of improvement and growth most beneficial to our mental health.
To your success!
Mike Vaccaro, a professional musician, teacher, and businessman
"I have owned MikeVaccaro.Com for 35 years and have been the Music Contractor for the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts for 27 years and the Ram football band for ten years. In addition, I have contracted musicians for motion pictures, recordings, and live performances throughout the United States. My company also specialized in corporate events for many years and provided and produced industrial shows, including sound, lights, staging, set design, scripts, original music, talent, and much more.
My passion, being a multi-instrumentalist, is to learn more about my instruments, people, business, and life in general. Learning never stops for me. I even learn from my students. And I keep a journal of great thoughts I come across in my travels.
With the creation of my online The Music Business Course, I hope to help you get through your career in the music business as efficiently as possible with my experiences of 50 years of playing Classical, Jazz, Pop, Broadway, and Motion Picture music. I think you will find a few gems that you will keep throughout your life."