What is the beginning point of being a great teacher? Love your subject, love the students.

I've recently been debating with myself what defines the best teachers and the most successful teachers.  While I have been an a quest to get better as a music teacher, I keep seeing much success with my current studio.  I'm grateful for the job and for the number of students I've had, and I appreciate earning the income for my family.  I also find myself confused at the success, as I know that the other violin teachers have more experience and better credentials.  Not to say that the other teachers aren't successful, but I have been confused about the great success that I have had despite the lack that I have in some areas.

Thinking about this, I came to realize that I love what I do.  I love music, I love playing, and I love the students that came in.  I get excited about teaching different ideas and concepts and about playing music.  When we talk about music, I'll often be saying things like:  "Mozart is awesome!" or "Isn't shifting so cool!"  And I really invest myself in the student, and I really care about them.  I sometimes find myself waking up in the middle of the night thinking about how teaching went the previous day and wondering about what I can do for one particular challenging student, or what music I can find that another student will like.

What's amazing about loving the students and loving music is they really drive you to get better at what you do.  I find myself thinking:  "I didn't play as good when I showed an example to my student. I want to practice more of what they are working on."  Or I think:  "That student wants to play a piece that we can't get the music for:  I want to get better at arranging so I can write them something they would love to play."

While I do need to keep honing and refining my skills as a performer, as an educator - and I will always need to keep doing this - the most important thing any teacher needs to do to be successful is to develop and to keep a love about everything they do.  Doing this will drive you to be the best teacher you can be.


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