Tuesday, May 01, 2007


I love to teach. I think teaching is one of the greatest things an artist can do to provide a healthy equilibrium to his or her mental state. You are forced to stop thinking about yourself and you plunge your energies into a bright young hopeful. It is powerful and beautiful. The Lord was the greatest teacher and every teacher could model their methods by studying Him and his interactions closely.

I tell all my students that I want to build artists, not just "pianists" or "guitarists." If they have some poetry to bring in, bring it. If they have a composition, bring it. If they have photography, bring it. Sometimes I will combine the art forms. I once had a student who loved to write stories. She also loved to compose. We spent one month writing a piece of music that described the story. It was so much fun I couldn't wait for the lessons myself.

Honestly, if I didn't teach this way, I would get bored.

Teaching is also much more than learning a craft. It is loving. A young artist grows more from just being around a teacher who loves God and his creation and offers them a new perspective while inspiring them to see their own.

I can only wonder what it must have been like to sit in on one of C.S. Lewis's seminars on medieval literature.

True teaching is darn near a lost art. Great individual artists have always had someone who took the time to build their character along with their abilities. Do you have anyone who fits that description? I have a few. My dad being one.

Love to hear yours.


The Stan said...

Well, Seth, the world definitely needs good teachers who love teaching. I'm not one of them. I used to dread teaching lessons and I'd feel so emotionally drained after teaching a few students in a row. Personally, I don't know how teachers do it. I have very little patience for people who don't practice or don't read.

Stephen said...

Seth, whenever I get in a discussion about teaching and loving something, I always quote the opening to Don Miller's book Blue Like Jazz:

"I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn't resolve. But I was outside the Bagdad Theater in Portland one night when I saw a man playing the saxophone. I stood there for fifteen minutes, and he never opened his eyes.
After that I liked jazz music.
Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way."

Susanne said...

My Mom is a great teacher. Her specialty is teaching young children, and she does it so well. She teaches public school music, and she uses a lot of her own money to buy books, etc. for the classroom. The kids love her.

My favorite teacher in college was a chemical engineering professor we called "Dr. R." She was different than most professors in that she showed us that she actually cared about us. Imagine that. She always took time to talk with us, whether it was about school or personal issues.

Here's to our teachers!!!

FancyPants said...

Well, none of my teachers were as cool as you are, Seth.

But my first piano teacher (when I was 7) and my first voice teacher (14) definitely opened my eyes up to a world that I fell in love with.

Then there was Mrs. Garcia, my first grade teacher. I cried for three hours in my room the last day of school because I knew I would never see her again. But that's mostly because she wore pretty yellow dresses and had a pretty smile and taught me how to read and took care of me when I lost a tooth.

Rob said...

I used to teach a lot of 1-week courses on how to use the software my company sold. There was a point in just about every class when I'd be rambling on about something or other and I'd see "the light" come on in somebody's eyes. They'd get it, and not just the particular thing I was talking about, but the whole idea of what the software was for and what they could do with it.

That's why I teach. To see the light come on.