I had been teaching Jennifer the violin for about a year and a half when she decided to switch to the bass. I didn’t take the change personally. I had seen students come and go for many different reasons over the years. I had gotten to the point where I felt gratitude for the sliver of time I was able to share with them.
I think my role as a teacher is more than merely helping someone master a set of technical skills. Along the way, I get to help students learn so much about themselves: how to be creative, how to have greater trust in themselves, how to balance thoughts and emotions, how to let go of perfection and have fun, and much more. So when Jennifer decided to quit the violin, I wasn’t sad that she was leaving me — I felt honored for getting to be part of her musical journey.
Weeks later, I was surprised to get a message from Jennifer’s mom asking if I would consider giving her violin lessons. What you may not know about me is that teaching adult beginners is my sweet spot. I never planned it that way, it was just something that unfolded over the years. Today I had my first lesson with Jennifer’s mom. I think I was just as exhilarated at the end of the lesson as she was.
I’m impressed by adults who are courageous to learn something new like the violin. This is best expressed by a former student who first told me: “I want to learn the violin not because I think I’ll be great, or even good — but because I think it will make me happy.” That’s the best reason ever to learn an instrument.