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Monday, February 20, 2012

Epiphenomenia - Teaching a Music Lesson

I taught some music lessons at the primary school of my children these days. It had been a long time since I stood in front of groups of small children, I normally teach students between 20 and 30 now. So I will not deny I was slightly nervous. Would I still be able to handle them? Would they pick up what I had thought out for them, or would my ideas be completely misdirected? Would I have lost touch with teaching children or still be able to do the trick?

I will be honest: I was kind of satisfied, but not because I gave them great tuition. I kind of still could do the trick; what I did was okay, but probably more in the sense of "okay" like many parents who can teach an "okay"  lesson when asked to teach children about their work. I could teach them the lesson not so much as a music pedagogue but as a musicologist having a fun talk and a nice song with a classroom of kids.

But actually that was why I was kind of satisfied. Teaching those kids gave me the opportunity to realise how I had changed over the past twenty years. Starting off as a music teacher studying musicology as an afterthought, I seem to have changed into a musicologist who loves teaching his students and is prepared to teach anyone else, on his own conditions. That is good. I have endless admiration for professional music teachers - and I sincerely mean that - but apparently I have stopped being one of them.

That gives an enormous amount of space, of possibilities to do the things I want to do without worrying too much about the pedagogical aspects. I can allow myself now to do things half, or willfully not at all, to teach not about music in abstractum, but about my musical life in concretum. Teaching is not so much a job as a thing that naturally emanates from keeping myself busy with music in many ways.

If you start developing a frown and asking yourself whether I am not on the road to complete hobbyism and  a random teaching style, don't worry too much. I think that the road I am taking is one that eventually leads to a form of teaching consisting of sharing my professional and personal experiences with music. I am not enough of a fool to propagate that that should be the alternative for decent, pedagogical well structured music lessons. But I do think that it can be a worthwhile addendum to such music tuition. A side product. An afterthought. A footnote. An "encore".

Not the main dish, no. More something like an amuse somehwere in between courses.

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