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What do I enjoy about music?

One goes through phases when first starting out a teaching career.  The first big phase is trying really hard to please everyone.  This causes a great deal of worry and stress in those early days because the slightest mistake on your part means that all your students will hate you!

And then you realize that everyone is human and everyone makes mistakes and then you can get on with your life.

But a more subtle layer to this is trying to find ways to inspire students.  While I, as the teacher, may not appeal to every student, it's important to try and get the most out of those I can work with.  This is a tricker subject than stressing over people liking my class.  It requires a little more soul searching because it boils down to figuring out what I find interesting about music.  Of course my students may find other aspects about music to interest them.  But it's important that I give them that base from my perspective.

I'll admit that it has taken quite of musical maturing on my part to really figure out what it is that keeps me playing.  It took me a long time to sort out what I liked and what my growing up education told me what I should like.

So after sorting through all this emotional baggage from my teenage years, I've discovered that the thing I enjoy the most about playing is the challenge.  I'm a geek at heart so I've always enjoyed figuring out every detail behind board games or computer games.  I enjoy being presented with a concept and then progressively learning about and appreciating all the smaller details as time goes on.

I enjoy the fact that music is an endless quest for more details.  You can obsess all you want over any aspect of playing for any number of years and still be coming up with new observations or techniques.  A lifetime simply is not enough time to learn everything there is to know about music.  This is why I enjoy teaching so much.  It allows me that opportunity to explore more details as I work with each student.  Details that I may never have noticed had it just been me learning a piece.

Once I realized this about myself it made everything about both my playing and my teaching come into sharper focus.  As a musician it has made personal progress far more enjoyable.  As a teacher, I feel more grounded.  In having something that truly motivates me, it gives me a base to work from as I try to push students forward.

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