Teaching music is a rewarding career path for a lot of musicians due to its flexibility with time as well as its financial advantages. Moreover, teaching also makes you a better musician and also has further benefits that can enhance your musicianship. Teaching makes you a better musician in more than one way. In this article we are going to talk about four of them:
1. You transcribe more music
In order to teach music, you need to have written material. Not that it is not possible to teach entirely by ear, but your students will forget the material after a while. So, you will need to have some books and worksheets in order to keep giving your students some written material.
When it comes to solos or specific voicings, transcription is irreplaceable. There is nothing really as good as transcribing to have you and your student advance. Even if you do not like transcribing as a musician, I can guarantee that in order to succeed as a teacher you have to transcribe a piece to some degree. And transcribing is possibly the best way to advance your technique as a musician, as it allows you to step into another musician’s shoes. This is a wonderful way to learn, and it will only make you a better musician.
2. You learn how to be more flexible
One of the greatest aspects of teaching music is that it makes you more flexible not just as a musician, but also as a person. Teaching takes a lot of patience, not just in the lesson but outside as well. Teaching has a lot of administrative work, such as scheduling classes with students, parents, finding dates for make-up lessons and recitals. If you have a roster of 10+ students, you are probably looking at at least 10 emails every week for scheduling, cancellations, and requests for rescheduling. You’ll learn a lot just through the administrative tasks.
In terms of teaching itself, one also has to be really patient (or learn how to be patient) in order to succeed and excel in teaching. Students will make mistakes, they will forget parts, they will not practice and perhaps they will have trouble focusing on what you’re saying. These are all part of being human, and teaching always reminds us how we were as students. None of us are perfect, and teaching really teaches us to be as flexible and as patient as possible. Professionally, being patient and flexible will not only get you hired more, but it will also create a good reputation for you, which is everything for a musician.
3. Your repertoire grows, and you keep up with the latest songs
A great outcome of teaching is that you learn more songs than you would have as a musician. Since different students have different musical interests, it’s nice to mix up your instrument’s standard repertoire with a piece that your students would like to play. After all, if your students are going to practice for hours, they might as well do it with a piece that they like to play. This will keep them motivated too, which is going to end up being better for them. Technique is important, but what’s more important is that your students love playing their instruments and in order to do this, there is really no better way than to assign them songs that they might like to play.
When you ask your students if there is a song they would like to learn to play, they might give you a song name or an artist, or perhaps even a music style that you haven’t heard of. This is great because this way you can do research and learn new songs and discover new artists. This way, you might end up expanding your repertoire for your future performances.
4. You keep your technique sharp
I think perhaps the greatest advantage of teaching music is that it pushes you to keep your technique fresh and sharp at all times. This means that you would practice for the songs you’re teaching, and you would be reviewing them quite often. In order to teach well, you need to have your technique stay sharp as well, which is great because sometimes as musicians we might decide not to practice as much. Teaching keeps you ready at all times, which also enforces your chops as a performer.
So, these are four ways teaching music makes you a better musician. Time and money are great advantages of teaching, but we also have these four ways as a bonus! If you put in the work, teaching can be a rewarding career path for a musician. So, if you think you are interested in passing on your knowledge, you should explore this.