For as long as I can remember, I have been passionate about learning new things, exploring the myriad opportunities and adventures around me, and ultimately sharing that joy with others. Pursuing my passion of performing on bassoon has not only enhanced my own knowledge, but also communicated the marvels and expression of all things musical to others. I discovered the value of creating opportunities that contribute to becoming a mature musician, as well as cultivating the environment to nurture these goals. From this I have taken away three key concepts that I wish to embody as a musician and an educator, with a goal to instill these qualities in my students: music is beyond the notes on the page, teach your students to teach themselves, and how to become a twenty-first-century musician.
As artists we must fulfill an obligation to represent the music and communicate with our audience both an authentic representation of the work and our personal interpretation. We start by playing the music with honesty and communicating the soul of the original work, but music is beyond the ink on the page. We must engage our audience in and out of the concert hall in order to connect and build a musical community. To achieve this as an educator, I would suggest that applied lessons have four components: research, analysis, performance, and outreach. Outreach is particularly important when growing your presence as a professional, building an audience, or running private studio. I have heard it said throughout my musical career that the best teachers teach their students to teach themselves. We are all different in the method in which we learn, the pace that we can ingest new information, and the paths we take to achieve similar goals. The best result for myself as a teacher is to be able to send my students off with a toolbox full of tips, tricks, and skills to use in their own musical journey. For example, a collection of rhythmic articulation “long-short” patterns that can be applied to quickly and efficiently learn any tricky passage.
Being a twenty-first century musician means that musicians are both performers, teachers, and entrepreneurs. The music industry and economy has changed drastically over the past few decades, and our music education standards need to reflect that. Up and coming musicians Victories in musical technique, expression, and performance are encouraging, but the challenges that accompany a modern career in music are not always written in books. Students today, and particularly those in college, are faced with momentous decisions day-after-day, and it is the duty of their mentors and teachers to support them, encourage them, and guide them in both their musical and non-musical endeavors. To facilitate this, teachers can pioneer and promote upcoming fields that highlight subjects including: Alexander Technique, yoga, musician’s wellness, music student support groups, injury prevention, performance anxiety, career development, and mental wellness. Through these, our students can apply these tools in other areas of their lives. Music encourages cultivating the discipline it takes to excel at and cope with the stresses of anything challenging.
We overcome life’s fears, anxieties, and trials of many kinds in the same way that we conquer music on the page. As musicians we are lifelong learners; I am dedicated to developing additional objectives that will help to support my teaching philosophy. It is my belief that these principles will work in harmony with any school or professional setting initiative to promote well-being, build community and expand opportunities, and harness information.