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I teach in Oregon City and online videochat. I work with all ages and levels and a variety of styles. I specialize in creative exploration, the psychology of music, and conscious music practices. Visit the lessons page to learn more.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

One simple way to connect to students and be a more humble, patient teacher: practice upside-down...

Try doing something backwards or different than usual. For instance, as a typical right-handed guitarist, try flipping the guitar around and learning to play it left-handed and upside-down. One can get a sense of the experience of beginners.

This is distinct from just learning an entirely new skill. When a teacher learns a new skill, they have no way to evaluate it and are truly just a beginning student. Of course, it is important for teachers to learn new things and that helps their teaching; but it isn't the same as playing upside-down.

When learning a new skill, it is hard to judge what to expect and whether it is being taught well; it is hard to judge the value, and hard to know what it will feel like when mastered. When reversing a guitar (or whatever is comparable for any other skill), all of those things are clear. Thus, the teacher may evaluate and understand the challenges in a way that no other experience can elucidate.

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