This past week marked the beginning of the Basics of Music Creation class. This was also the first week that I began to teach guitar lessons during the summer session. I have two guitar students. One is 12, and the other is 15. In light of my experiences so far this summer, I am trying a new approach with these two students. Instead of telling them what to learn, I'm asking them what they want to learn. I want to encourage them to take ownership of their education by giving them the freedom of choice. The older student surprised me when he told me, "I want to learn how to read music on the staff." This is perhaps my least favorite part about music, and I am an awful sight reader. However, I value the ability to be able to read music. For a guitar student, this is a peculiar desire since 90% of guitar players have never even seen a staff of music, let alone can play off of one. My younger student is a little more reserved. I think that there is a language barrier for both guitar students, but especially for the younger one. I will ask if they feel more comfortable speaking in Spanish.
Starting the class this week was extremely fun, challenging, and interesting all at the same time. You can plan all you want, but until you actually do what you are planning for, everything is theoretical. This is why some economic theories (like the Laffer curve) work in theory put not in practice. So it was with the teaching of the first three classes of the 12-class series. I quickly realized that I wasn't a particularly good teacher. I don't think that teaching is a natural ability. Teaching is no more of a talent than is music. Both have to be learned through practice and experience. Some of my biggest mistakes were giving the students too much homework and not fully explaining the lesson to them. I expected the students to teach themselves the material, then complete the assignment. Needless to say, this was disastrous. I have corrected this by allowing more time in the class for actually teaching the lesson. Overall, this past week has been enlightening.