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New York, New York
USA

Blog

A New York harpist trying to figure things out - and the mishaps and adventures that inevitably ensue.

Today Reminded Me Why I Would Never Give Up Teaching For Performing

Kathryn Sloat

The last few days have been all around pretty crummy. So, I have done things to compensate. 

 

I have made brownies. 

And not the from the box kind. The made from scratch, contains real dark chocolate and a vanilla bean kind. 

 

I cut my hair, because that seems to be what I do in these situations.

Yeah, I take bad selfies.

I read Harry Potter, because, of course.

Except the irony of this made me want to cry.

But the first thing that made me really, really happy today was teaching. Since I've been all over the place this summer I haven't really been able to give my students their lessons with any regularity. But since school is starting and I am at least in one place for a month, I decided I would try to teach them using Skype (or Facetime). I was a little skeptical about this, having never done it before, but a friend of mine recently taught her students this way while she was in India for six months, so I thought I would give it a go.

It actually went much better than I was expecting it to. I was nervous about relying on the Internet to do its job and not constantly interrupt the video, but this only happened once at the very end of the lesson. I was also afraid that the sound would not be good enough for me to give intelligent feedback, but this also didn't seem to be an issue. It is a little bit awkward not being physically next to a student when they're playing. As she did her warm-ups I had to keep asking her to move her computer so I could see her hands from different angles. Then, when we were working on her piece, we both had to be very specific about which part we were referring to, since we couldn't necessarily just point to it (I brought a copy of her piece with me so that I wouldn't have to try and see the music through the computer screen). I always had to say the line number, measure number, and sometimes specific beats, which was a little cumbersome. Overall, though, it went pretty well, although I am looking forward to being able to teach them in person. 

There are few things in life that make me as happy as teaching a really good lesson. I'm sure my students are completely unaware of this. Having a student who practices and clearly loves the instrument as much as I do is its own reward. Someone once asked me if I would choose to give up teaching if I could make a living entirely from performing, and were rather surprised when I said no. I love to play music for people, but teaching someone that love is a different kind of happiness, one that I would never choose to give up. I am grateful to have that reminder in the midst of a bad week. 

 

Also, this video made me laugh like a maniac for some reason. Watch it. Be amused. 

I hope everyone else is having a good week!