What makes a great teacher?

Tutor no longer registered
Saxophone By: Tutor no longer registered
Subject: Saxophone
Last updated: 02/05/2016
Tags: saxophone teaching, teaching methods

In this discussion, I am going to share the issues I experienced as a student during my academic years and now as a teacher. By presenting the issues between teachers and students when dealing with the overall class experience, I hope to demonstrate the ability and strength for any teachers or students to develop their understanding of what is to be a real musician or artist.

Motivation: During my time as a student I found it hard to feel motivated by my teachers, or to feel the natural drive to study and understand if I am going in the right direction.

Some teachers can make seemingly unfitting comments that you are not up to standard or that you should quit. This can be their way of putting you under pressure and it works remarkably for some students because it makes them work harder, but not for all. Others might say that you are the best and encourage you, which in return can make you feel motivated. This highlights a common issue that occurs in the subject of classical music and jazz.

I believe that teachers are the facilitators of motivation and they must set a good example in their actions for students to have a positive attitude and a positive outlook. A teacher can help students create a positive image of their ideal self and talk about where and what kind of person the students see themselves in the future or even working on creative strategies to understand the students direction going forward.

When students are given the right motivational push, they can rise to a new level; however, some students don’t receive the same encouragement to develop. This can hinder their progress and in the worst case scenario this can lead to demotivation or even depression.

The teacher should learn to understand who they are dealing with and know how to motivate their students by giving feedback or praise in the right way. There are different ways to give praise and each student can benefit from interpreting difficulties in terms of their personal weaknesses and understand that esteem comes from striving; also most importantly when understanding this, it allows every student to earn praise.

Direction: Direction is a very important point in the evolution of any performer. Music is an ever-growing process. Direction for most students at the initial stage in their learning is not set in stone. A student might feel that they are unaware of which creative direction they want to take or question who they are and what they want to study.

In my experience, I always felt the best practice was when a teacher knew how to set boundaries and goals for the students to make the lesson challenging and achievable. An effective teacher will learn to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the student(s) and draws on what they already know to stimulate their interest. For me this was recommending new books to study, entering competitions on a varied-level, attending workshops or even providing small texts or assessments to guide the course of movement.

The way in which a teacher gives direction to their student has an enormous impact in their development and when recognising the right kind of support to give.

Discipline: In the overall life and career as a musician, this is the most fundamental practice for healthy regulation. I would like to express how important I have found it to have teachers that are great performers and self-disciplined themselves.

In general, a good musician is careful with how he spends his time; the example of a great teacher or performer is the most significant part of any a student’s training. Some students at the initial stage should identify with their own masters, and emulate their technique for creative progression.

A career in music or in any other specialty requires a lot teaching and good behaviour. It is important to understand what you choose to study, how many hours you can dedicate and to balance your time. As a teacher, I have found that some students become distracted by doing too many things at the same time or trying to carry out responsibilities out of their control, thus delaying their progression.

When I was a student I was often sidetracked but I later found the guidance of a disciplined teacher and performer in my life.



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