Learning music or a new instrument is not an easy task, it takes patience, discipline, and hard work. My goal is not to train my students to become professional musicians, that’s not up to me. My job is to inspire students through music and teach them skills that will help them throughout their lives. Rather than spoon-feeding information and always telling them what to do, I believe educators should act more as a mentor to guide students and have students think more for themselves from a young age. I aim to teach students how to be independent learners and try to problem solve the task ahead. I also gauge students’ personality and tailor different teaching methods to fit their learning style. Of course, beginner students need instructions in note reading, rhythms, basic music theory, and technique. And at that stage, they need a direct feed of information and repetition in practice to gain the necessary foundation for meaningful music making. This is also the stage when they start building discipline in continuous practice and patience to make progress. Moving forward, I will then guide students to think independently with their own artistry and interpretation while teaching music history and performance practice.
I think it is quite healthy for teachers to say, “I don’t know, but I will try my best to find an answer.” to students when needed because it is unrealistic for anyone to have all the answers. While teachers control and are responsible for what students learn, students shouldn’t expect teachers to provide all the answers either. They need to understand that they are responsible for their own learning, and not become stagnant in dependence. Like I mentioned earlier: music, as the subject, is a vital art form with so much history and global culture. But more importantly, it is a vehicle for students to learn how to think independently and creatively, to be curious, to problem-solve, and to collaborate. All of these things are important life skills they will need throughout their lives, and that’s what I aim to teach.