When I was in college, I felt that I was un-interested in teaching as it would divert energy and time away from playing. Sometime in my 30's, when I started teaching as a way to supplement my playing income, I discovered a wonderful truth: teaching makes me a much better player. This happens in several ways:
1) I have actively studied many methods in order to reach the many different types of students who arrive at my door. Every teacher and player has something different and valuable to offer, I've learned from everybody I've talked to, read, or studied with. I know a lot more about the physiology and the psychology of playing than I did ten years ago. It has even resulted in me publishing a couple of books of my own! I am firmly in the camp of 'If I only knew then what I know now...'
2) I approach my own practicing with the same critical ear that listens to students. I catch myself doing things that I would call somebody else out on. My standards have gone up, and my playing along with them. Demonstrating even the simplest of passages to high standards is a very daunting and humbling process. It has forced me to re-discover the importance of the basics of sound production, and the significance of every single note.
3) Having students arrive throughout the day keeps me in the studio and my mind focused on music. I play more that I would otherwise. When I go through slow teaching periods (summer, holidays) I miss the time-on-chops.
4) I am the benefactor of the youthful energy of my students, even the retired ones!
At the present time, my workload is approximately 50/50 playing and teaching. That is perfect for me, and I hope it stays like that as long as possible. Each one compliments the other, and results in a level of playing that is the highest I've ever achieved, and continues to improve daily (as long as I practice!)
Teaching is not for everybody, and not every player is a great teacher (also vice-versa), but the two are not mutually exclusive, that's for sure. The initials AJ ring a bell?
From: Jim Manley <email@example.com>
To: Trumpet Players International Network <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: June. 11, 1999 12:11 PM
Those who can do-those who can't teach
I play for a living and find it hard to believe anyone in 1999 would
make that statement-one of my teachers happen to be a pretty fair
player. His name is Bobby Shew.
I thought the saying was
Those who can do
Those who can't teach
and those who can't teach-teach gym
PO Box 515153
St. Louis, MO. 63151