Standing Out In A Crowd

In making the decision to teach lessons online I had to ask myself this question... "What's so novel that I'm bringing to the internet?"  In other words, there are already a lot of great teachers out there offering lessons online. What am I bringing to the table that they aren't?

Why do I think I'm so special?

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but most of my students aren't saying things like, "Emily, I'm so glad you're working on that concerto. It sounds so good." (It's because, bottomline, that doesn't matter to them, however hard I've been working on that darn piece of music.) They also aren't saying things like, "Gee this is easy!"

What I hear from my students (and their parents) is this...

  • I'm a clear communicator. - "That makes a lot of sense!"

  • I present goals in a tangible way. - "Playing the cello is not the easiest thing I've done, but it is some of the most fun I've had!"

  • I inspire music creation. - "You've brought music into our house for the first time ever!"

  • I'm a good listener and advisor. - "Thanks for the chat, it really helped me see things clearer."

  • I'm sensitive and empathetic. - "How'd you know I was having a bad day?"

  • I understand my students and their learning styles. - "Woah, you've got some of the neatest ways to explain music theory!"

Answer? Holistic Approach.

But what my students may not see on the surface of every lesson and what all the previously mentioned strengths prove, is that I'm primarily concerned with their holistic health as a person and cellist.  When a student walks in my studio I don't just wait for them to tune and warm-up before I start teaching.  I use every second available to see that student as a whole person. THEN, I start teaching from what I see.

Is my student tired? Stressed? Distracted? Motivated? Discouraged? and not just with the cello but with life.

Ex: If a younger student walks in my studio with pockets inside out, hair all a muss, music disorganized and crumpled, and generally stressed out, I'll spend the earlier part of the lesson helping that student feel like they are in control of their life. We'll straighten music out, organize it, tuck pockets back into pants, take a deep breath, etc. THEN we'll start work on the music.

I truly believe that a better person makes a better musician as a whole. I also believe that just because one is technically skilled as an instrumentalist does not make them a good musician. or a good person for that matter.

How does your big picture (holistic approach) look as a musician? as a person?