Music students of the world: Your teachers spend more of their lives than you can imagine right now perfecting their crafts. They have studied their instruments and repertoire. They have spent hours in the practice room and performance halls. Then, they become YOUR teacher. They spend endless amounts of time teaching you, advising you, counseling you and more, all while continuing to work to still improve their own craft. They go to your rehearsals, your coachings, your concerts, your recitals and more to support you. Our teachers become some of the most important figures in our lives, and you, the students, become some of the most important figures in your teachers lives.
So I implore you: when your teacher is performing somewhere GO SEE THEM! See them play the craft that you yourself are saying you want to make a career. Watch them do something besides schedule your lessons, correct what you have (or have not practiced), coach your rehearsals, advise you what classes to take etc. Go hear someone who has spent a long time getting to the level they have achieved. And, go and respect them for what they have achieved. You will NEVER go wrong by going and hearing someone better than you perform (and they most likely ARE better than you). And many times what they have been telling you will suddenly make more sense! And even if they are a guest on another teachers program go see how they play in a chamber setting. Added bonus: hearing cool rep. you don’t get to hear everyday!
I write this because I am seeing (and hearing from many others) a disturbing trend of students not going to performances. And especially their teachers performances. When I was a student the thought of not going to hear my teacher (and anyone my teacher told me I needed to go hear) was not a thought that would even cross my mind. I wanted to go to performances. I wanted to hear and see everything I could. But too often many students make it seem like going to hear music is a burden rather than a privilege, or a learning opportunity. It is important to immerse oneself in this field to succeed. Music cannot be a hobby for a music major. It has to be a way of life. Not all of life, as experiencing everything helps us grow. But get out and ENJOY a concert. Your teachers are really good. Go check them out.
And one last thought: your teacher should never have to tell or require you to go to their recital (or one of a guest artist they bring in). It should just be a thing you do…
Thanks to Tracy Wiggins for letting me repost this blog article. For more information and other great posts, be sure to visit his blog.
Tracy Wiggins is coordinator of the percussion program at The University of North Alabama. He has a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the HARTT School, University of Hartford. Dr. Wiggins holds a Masters Degree in Percussion Performance from the University of New Mexico and a Bachelors Degree in Music Education from Oklahoma State University. He has done post-masters work at The Ohio State University. In addition to his teaching duties he has recently served as principal timpanist for The Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, principal timpanist of the Florence Symphony and timpanist for the Carolina Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. He currently performs as an extra percussionist and timpanist with The Huntsville Symphony. He is also a member of the tuba and percussion duo Peruba.