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Issues

I studied Music Therapy in college.  Upon completing my classwork, I ended up choosing not to pursue the two year internship that would have eventually led to me becoming a board certified music therapist.  I picked the private teacher route instead.

Even though I never ended up practicing music therapy in an official capacity, I never regretted my choice of studies in college.  Had I known then that I wanted to be a private music teacher I might have decided to take more of a music education route instead of therapy.  In retrospect, however, I feel that the therapy aspect prepared me more for the challenges of private teaching then anything else ever could have.

I think the biggest difference between the therapy approach versus standard music education is that in therapy you are assuming that your client is not a normal functioning individual and then working from there.  Whether it's cerebral palsy or autism or anger problems, the issues are seen as the primary concern and you use the music to address these issues.

After taking on my first batch of students, I quickly came to realization that just about everyone has issues.  Successfully teaching someone an instrument takes years and the lessons never revolve around a student perfectly recreating every technique adjustment you make.  They have issues, be it physical or mental.  The teacher may even have issues!

Issues and barriers are a natural part of learning.  That is why this must be the starting point for every lesson or practicing session.  What are the problems and how are they going to be fixed?

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