Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Teach, Practice, Perform

By Mark T. Burke

I am inspired by how many of my friends live the life of truly professional musicians.  By committing to teaching students, practicing on their own and performing frequently, these folks epitomize the definition of a professional musician. 

To really inspire students to love music, they need to see that WE love music.  The best way to convey our passion for music is to BE musicians. To BE a musician, WE must improve our skills through diligent practice.  If one of the bubbles in the graphic above gets pulled out of the diagram, the balance is broken and our level of professionalism lessened.

I remember having a gym teacher in high school who obviously was NOT interested in fitness or being active.  That teacher had no ability to model exercises or specific sports skills.  I often wondered why this person had chosen to become a teacher.  I believe their view of the diagram above was that "Teach" was placed differently. 



When we place "Teach" at the center of our profession as musicians, what are the surrounding skill sets that support our musicianship? My gym teacher placed teaching above all and had lost sight of how best to inspire students.  For some reason, he felt going through the motions of teaching was sufficient to be considered a professional.  Was it?  It wasn't for me.  I spent most of my high school years hating gym class and learned little about personal fitness or how to improve my skills in specific sports.  I feel I was robbed by not being really inspired by a professional.

I'm going to print this diagram and post it on my office wall.  I want to remind myself each day that my mission is to be a professional, supported by improving my abilities to teach, practice and perform.

Did the teachers who really inspired you follow the first or second model?  How about you?   




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