Next week I am attending the Suzuki Institute in Columbus, Ohio for teacher training in Book two and three. I am really excited about this opportunity.
Since I moved to St. Louis, I haven’t been doing as much teaching as before. I learn so much from teaching every student, and I build on that knowledge for the next student. Since I have had less contact with students, I feel maybe I have forgotten some things. In addition, there may be many things that I never thought of before. I went to school for performance, not education. My teaching has always been based on my personal knowledge of performance versus a formal education in education. I’m hoping to recharge, refresh, and come home from the week with more knowledge and ideas in my teaching “toolbox” than before! I hope that everybody I work with benefits from this week, and I also hope that I will be able to go somewhere next summer as well to continue my training.
I feel very strongly about the importance of education past college and graduate school. I try to continue learning by reading magazines and books and by talking with colleagues about a variety of topics. I think it’s a wonderful time for me to continue my education in a more formal setting, and I hope the week is full of learning and enjoyment. I’ll let you know what happens!
Sometimes people tell me they can hire students for a cheaper price. They say, oh this high school student can teach my child violin lessons for ten dollars a lesson, or, this group of college students can play my wedding for half that price. I’m sure this is true, but I’m also sure you do lose a great deal of quality when you hire an amateur.
Granted, playing or teaching music isn’t quite like practicing medicine–no one is going to die from bad music or bad teaching! However, if you hire an experienced teacher to teach yourself or your child, you will get someone who has taught many other students, has a degree in music, and is able to play their instrument at a very high level. What does this mean for a beginning student? It means that from the start we will be able to help you (or your child) get a proper foundation on the instrument. It means we will know exactly what is important to learn at the beginning so that along the line (perhaps even ten or twenty years later) you won’t have to change things that are wrong. I get many students who come to me after either learning on their own or learning from a less qualified teacher. Sometimes I have to spend a couple of YEARS fixing the bad habits they have. Imagine if those students had received the proper set up to begin with!
As for playing for your wedding or another event, what do you gain by hiring professionals? Firstly, you gain a sense of professionalism in regards to contracting, timeliness, payment processing, and attire. You also get a group who has played perhaps hundreds of weddings already, and knows how to react to things when they don’t go quite as expected (as happens in weddings!). You get a group of people who are very adept at playing their instruments and have wonderful tone, musicality, rhythm, intonation, etc. You will get a group of people that your guests will rave about! These are things that you may not get with a college or high school group. Many times I have received a call from someone who booked a less professional group that backed out at the last minute! It turns out that the savings they thought they were getting might have ended up getting them no live music at all.
Most importantly though, by hiring a professional musician, you will get someone who is dedicating their life to making music and as a result, will be very dedicated to making you enjoy your music as well!