Things Horn Teachers Say: Ineffective Teaching


Derek Wright posted recently on something a teacher (not me!) said to him in a first lesson. The teacher asked him “do you have a backup plan?

Like Derek I have taken lessons with quite a number of teachers and can remember things certain teachers said pretty specifically. Some communicate pretty differently than others for a variety of reasons. As to the specific quote Derek relayed, I know some teachers would state this type of thing as a motivator. One old school approach is to tell you that you can’t do something to which you are supposed to react “oh, you think I can’t do this, I’ll show you!”

Is that effective teaching? Maybe with some students but it can also only mean that they may not have any idea how to address the issues you need to work out. As I have stated in a prior post, not all teachers are effective teachers. Just over a year ago I wrote that

…not all famous/successful horn teachers are actually good teachers. I am not going to name names but the fact is I am convinced that there are very famous teachers that can’t teach, communicate their ideas poorly, grandstand excessively, or more or less only coach students, seeming to be more concerned with building up their own careers than those of their students. Big personal problems of various types are often a part of the mix, relationship issues, chemical dependencies, etc. There are teachers out there that I don’t believe would have had the success their record shows without having had a number of very talented and motivated students basically stumble into their studios that needed at that point in time very little actual teaching–students that would have won jobs having studied with virtually anyone.

That all said I have met people that did not like their studies with several teachers that I consider to have been among the best teachers I ever encountered in my studies. Why? The fact is that different people will mesh with different teachers. And some will only be happy if they study with a “famous” teacher. That is just the way it is.

Bruce Hembd also just posted two related notes on the “ego driven teacher.” It is a good topic to ponder.

Continue to Part II

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