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Music Education

Just what is it that makes a music educator exceptional?

How does a teacher impart to the student the qualities of music appreciation, the joy of learning and the drive and desire to complete their assignments?

It is done by understanding the talents and capabilites of each student, observing the way they learn, and tempered with lots of patience.
A teacher requires the qualities of leadership, compassion, flexability, humour and above all an ability to communicate at a level the student understands.
A music teacher is really a coach, one who is able to direct, instruct, inspire and motivate each individual student by setting realistic and attainable goals and objectives.
As anyone who reads this will understand whether a music instructor or not, music is a very personal thing, and the way a teacher presents themselves is reflected through the student to some degree.
It is the teachers responsibility to inspire and motivate the student to good works, not the students.
How is this done, by finding the right type of songs and useful exercises that fit each students particular needs.
I have found through many years of teaching the above attributes and approaches are critical to the success of longevity of each student.
Many of my students have told me that their friends have hated going to lessons because they did not enjoy the music or the teacher.
The simple answer is the teacher did not grow with the student, that is, having the ability to anticipate the changing needs of the students as they developed from toddlers to teenagers.
Music is important to the young person, it must be fun, fun at the lesson and fun to practice their songs to perfection because they want to, not because they have to.
It still amazes me how I hear the charge of students, brothers and sisters pounding down the steps, seeing who can reach the studio door first, full of enthusiasm and excitement, looking forward to the piano lesson at hand.
Even the teens surprise me with their boundless energy week after week, more at talking for the first few minutes prior to the lesson then racing down the sidewalk outside.
Just what is it that has carried this level of energy and desire after 8 to 10 years of taking piano, theory lessons from the same teacher?
Exactly what I had mentioned earlier, growing up with the students, providing them with a variety of music styles, building a proper relationship with them and helping them develop life skills through music.

I hope to provide more information of the psychology of Music Instruction with specific approaches for those of you interested.
I would also appreciate any feedback from music instructors who could offer ideas that could be posted here which could enlighten prospective and current Instructors of varying Music Programs.

March 27th ,2002
Bryon Tosoff