We’ve all heard the saying ‘Those who can’t do teach’. As I’ve been teaching music for a little under a decade now, I’ve learnt that that saying couldn’t be further from the truth. Maybe in a sense it is true, but it doesn’t have to be. In music college I always thought (in an idealistic way as many students do), that I would be in a band touring the world by the time I was 25. That dream is not dead, but how was I going to support myself until then? Or even more realistically, how am I going to support myself if that dream never happens?
That’s why I do believe in teaching music not only to financially support myself but also to aid my own musical growth too, and share the passion of music with those who get it. So here are 10 benefits to teaching music without looking down at this opportunity that could definitely help you grow as a musician and professional in general.
The first point goes without saying that teaching is something every musician should consider when struggling to make money in other avenues. But it also helps to learn to manage your money as a musician and give you financial freedom to pursue your less commercial musical desires, or possibly work on yourself as a musician.
"I always think that as musicians and creators, what we have is magic, and need time to harness our craft."
2. You get to play every day.
This is a big perk of teaching because if you were in a day job other than music you probably wouldn’t be able to take your instrument to work every day and have a jam. I have always found that the most eye opening process can be teaching music that you would not normally check out on your own. Listening to Katy Perry and more pop orientated music would never be something that I would do in the past, however, I have actually grown to love these artists and the process of songwriting in a pop format.
3. You get better at vocalizing your thought process.
This has been and still is a very important point for me as I am naturally an introvert and sometimes find it difficult to vocalize what I am thinking or feeling. However, as a music teacher you need to demonstrate your thought process to others and this is a great way of learning to demonstrate clearly different learning styles. Meaning that some students learn better by doing, while others learn better by hearing or seeing.
4. You learn to get along with different types of people.
As I teach and have taught anyone from 9 years old to 60 and beyond, I have learned to get along with different age groups and people from different backgrounds, connecting on a personal level. For example you’re not necessarily going to talk to your 60-year-old student old about his or her favourite Youtuber, but you might chat about how crypto-currency is doing. I’ve also learned and am still learning about people’s different personalities.
5. You meet new music fans.
I’ve been so inspired by some of my students’ passions for certain genres and artists. This fuels you to also seek out new music and continue searching for the sounds that you enjoy or even like writing in your own music.
6. You make new musical relationships
Although you may be providing a service, you tend to make new relationships based on a musical rapport. Say you like a genre and your new student loves it too, perhaps you could share artists or even jam some of your favourite tunes while in the lesson.
7. You get inspired to keep practicing.
So many of my students have inspired me on a daily basis to keep learning and practicing as much as possible. Many of them are already motivated individuals who inspire me to be motivated and, although I am the teacher, to always have the mindset of a student who is always learning and is not ALWAYS right.
8. You are humbled.
I’ve taught many musicians who have challenged me to become a better player and realize that I don’t always have to be an insanely brilliant player to be a great teacher. In fact, in some cases ‘showing off’ at my lessons is not going to help the student, which is what I am there to do.
9. It Teaches you to plan ahead.
Something that a good teacher does is plan ahead and be aware that often your lessons should encourage and inspire your students to check out more music in their own time. So planning ahead will encourage you to get feedback from your students as to what they need to do or want to look at future lessons.
10. You learn about business.
Let’s face it, as musicians and creators we are usually not straight- off- the- bat incredible business people, but running my own teaching business has definitely taught me a ton about business, more often than not the hard way too.
I hope these points have given you some insight as to some of the vital ways I think teaching can benefit you. Often as musicians and creators we tend to pass off teaching in the hope to get that ‘dream gig’, but sometimes teaching can aid you in finding growth and prosperity as a musician. On that point, I do hope you find that dream gig you are chasing too.
Until next time,