One afternoon a week, I teach piano to three students. (Thankfully, work allows me to get off early that day.) I’ve been teaching piano for, hmmm, about eight or nine years maybe? It’s not something I had ever really planned on doing, nor a business I plan on growing. But, seeing that my students also happen to be my nieces and nephews, it just works out well all around.
Just because I don’t envision myself as a professional piano teacher, that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it. And teaching, even on this small scale, has opened my eyes to the wonderful world of learning.
I always heard that if you want to learn something then teach someone. It’s true. All that stuff that kind of went over my head as a student now clicks into place (most of the time. The rest of the time I just bluff my way through).
I love to see how each person learns. And it’s a challenge for me to fit the teaching method to the individual learning style. Some are very free spirited and love to impart their personality into each song. Others are very by.the.book. Both approaches benefit in different ways.
Entre Ellie. She is my youngest student and has been taking lessons for about 2 or three years. Recently, her musical personality has started coming through. She loves to compose songs. I want to capitalize on this eagerness, and so we’re working on how to write down her compositions.
And then just a couple weeks ago, she informed me that she is “teaching” her younger brother. I thought, “Yeah, yeah, how nice” without giving it much credence. But yesterday, her younger brother eagerly sat down at the piano to show me what he had learned. It was a simple little five finger scale. But it was a five finger scale that his nine year old sister had taught him during their “Thursday lessons.”
I was so proud.
I never know where each student will go with their music. Sometimes I feel like they will never go ANYWHERE. (Those are the times I want to give them a swift kick in the rear.) But then they come the next week and play a beautiful piece or bring their own “student” and make me realize that it is all worth it.