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To the pros and/or teachers out there: What do you think of students in high school/college having students of their own?
I think that as long as they teach correct basics, and don't screw around or the like, then there should be very few problems, if any. I also think it's good for students to learn how to teach students of their own for experience.

For example, here's my situation:
I'm in college, and for a while now I've been teaching beginning sax players - usually elementary or middle-school kids - the basics on alto and tenor. By "basics", I mean basic fingerings, correct embouchure, breathing, etc. Then we move on to basic scales and pieces when/if they advance enough on the instrument. My old instructor and I have also worked out a "system", which will be described in a bit.

Note that I also take private lessons myself from my current college instructor every week, so it's not like I'm out of the loop with my technique. I also incorporate things I learn from my lessons into the lessons of the students I teach.

When I feel like they are ready to play more advanced music and techniques, I refer (but do not force) them to my old sax instructor/tech who I began with and has been playing for the better part of 30-ish years. He's also the one who instructed me how to teach. As for the money part...

I charge $15/30min. I base this on being a student myself, and at the level of student I teach. My old instructor charges $25/30min, but teaches more advanced students and jazz.
We figure that when my students are ready to move on, their parents will already know whether or not their child is worth my old instructor's rate, and whether or not their child wants to continue. My instructor also gets more serious, longer-term students that want to be there to learn (which makes a huge difference, IMO), instead wasting his time with the lazy ones...

Any opinions on the general notion of my question, or about my specific scenario?
 

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Forum Contributor 2011, SOTW's pedantic pet rodent
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Personally I think everything you describe is absolutely fine. It's sounds like you've thought it through, too, which suggests you are probably good at teaching. As a "music teacher" the teacher bit is just as important as the music bit. That's the way I look at it anyway.
 

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Rooty, with no disrespect, to you or o.p. I disagree. Times are hard, we all need to get by sure. But Sir, a teacher you are not. It sounds like you are just about keeping a step ahead of your " students". You say you only teach basics. Embouchure is not a basic. It is the very foundation of our playing voice. Are you familiar and profficient with alternate embs. Can you fully explain the physics of a mpc. Diaphragm, warm air. These things ARE imho..the basics. No offence my friend. This came up recently here. I was told...Mr. X..was teaching at college X. The guy is a good player, great soul singer...a teacher he is not. With respect....a
 

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Adrian I acknowledge your point of view and I'd like to add another. All the facets you mention are important to be sure but alternate embouchures and the like are not something a raw beginner needs to contend with. If you and I as teachers are doing our job well, our older students will have developed a strong understanding of the fundamentals. As well, our older students will have had time to model their teaching approach from the example set by ourselves. Provided our students are solid in the fundamentals, have a good attitude toward teaching and have the ability to establish a rapport, they have as much chance as any of us to get beginners going in the right direction. We are none of us the finished article as players or teachers.

The OP's question can be likened to asking "Is my son ready to be a father himself?"

There's no right answer to that, or this. At what point are you knowledgeable and experienced enough to become a father? or a teacher?

The truth is, never....until you have to do it. It's the doing itself that teaches you how to do it.

In my own experience, my younger students establish a good rapport with my older students simply because they are closer in age and share common interests etc. They have the distinct advantage over older teachers such as myself, of being able to find analogies and metaphors that are understandable resonate. The largest part of successful teaching, in my own experience, is the ability to establish a strong relationship, inspire confidence and self belief in the student and arouse enthusiasm for the task at hand.

No teacher, no matter how experienced, skilled, or well trained, is ever fully equipped to deal with every problem, puzzle or pedagogical challenge that a student my encounter. To believe otherwise is to kid ourselves. There will always be situations where a teacher will need to consult with colleagues and other players to find an answer to a problem, simply because each student is unique.

There'll be times when your students will have to pass a problem up to you and that doesn't in any mean they aren't up to the task.

To wrap up, if we teach well, we teach the student how to explore and examine critically, solve problems and teach themselves. We are essentially, supportive guides. If we do that job really well, a good student will also, by osmosis, absorb a large part of the skill of teaching.

Just my $0.02
 

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Dog Pants...good morning, and nice to meet you. Your comments are good man. Firstly, i am not a teacher. Second, your point...alternate embs. should not concern a beginner, true. However, are we not looking from the students point of veiw, but from the teachers. It is a difficult thing, not knowing the op. He may well be a very good student, and may well have that all important rapport/ common ground...i.e. A likeable guy, who knows enough " basics " to pass them on. Interesting thread....have a great day man...a
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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I'm kind of on the fence with this one. Of course as long as "basics" means "basics" that's fine and will work for many of the student's students.

But the problem can arise when someone is a bit different, e.g. an overbite or an underbite or larger or smaller tongue than usual. To work out what is going wrong and ways to correct can often be impossible for someone less experienced.

What works for one person may not work for another. You see this from the discussions on "how much mouthpiece to take in". Some people are extremely dogmatic about this, whereas I believe so much depends on the physiognomy of the player, the style of music and the type of mouthpiece. That is just one example and in this case style and type of mouthpiece may not be so relevant if the teacher is sticking to a very basic learning of scales and typical student setups.

As a rather scary analogy, think about healthcare. It's possible for a (relatively) unqualified person to set themselves up practising some alternative therapies. Most are very aware of their limitations and can often do good things for some minor ailments. But can they always spot a possibility of a hidden complication that a qualified GP would be aware of? Food for thought.

I think you should be OK as long as you only teach very beginners, ie not just being "one step ahead" but many steps ahead, and be very careful to look out for anything out of the ordinary regarding physiognomy: especially teeth and tongue.

The other thing a very experienced player/teacher needs is an big big understanding of psychology. They will either have learnt this from teaching programs or life experience. being able to recognise the students who need a "different" approach. Some respond to (and need) quite strict discipline, others will be totally tuned off by that and need a more relaxed approach. Some are good at working stuff out for themselves, others need everything spoonfed.

Good luck.
 

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Forum Contributor 2011, SOTW's pedantic pet rodent
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I took it from the OP's thread opener that he is quite an advanced player ie college level and I read into his post that he is analytical and responsible. I certainly wouldn't say it's a good idea to be "just ahead" of the student and I also think that this is a very individual thing. Some 18 year olds might be brilliant players but would have no clue how to put this across as teaching eg they'd just demonstrate stuff and not notice the kind of individual things Pete has mentioned.

It is an interesting thread because it's a situation that can certainly arise and there is an ethical dimension. And I do think Pete and adrian are making good points which need considering.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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I took it from the OP's thread opener that he is quite an advanced player ie college level and I read into his post that he is analytical and responsible.
Yes, I read that too. And on amore positive note (given the caveats mentioned) it's a good argument that maybe some families are able to encourage their child with music by getting a student teacher at a price they can afford, whereas they may not be able to afford a full pro teacher price.

There is a counter argument of course, that some pro teachers would feel they are being undercut. Difficult one that.
 

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When a competent player who is still a "student" undertakes to instruct someone with less experience, he becomes, in effect, a "teacher". I've seen and heard of plenty of players with teaching degrees who've given bad advice with a bad attitude to boot. Of course, we all know of great teachers. But in the scenario described by the OP I think it's absurd to make a teaching degree into something sacrosanct, as if practical advice from a mere layman is somehow suspect and any words out of a "certified" teacher's mouth are golden. You know, teachers have to begin somewhere — I'll bet elmiguel not only improves as a player by doing this but that his teaching will also improve.
 

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Pete, you're right. In most of the school programs here, a pro just wouldn't accept the going rate. The moment you start charging parents "pro" rates, you no longer have a band program.

The basic flaw in the argument that only pros should teach, is that in music, sports and so many other endeavors, these very pros managed to become pros despite being taught by less than experts themselves.

Most football stars, for example get their initial coach from enthusiastic parents. Many fine musicians, from enthusiastic band directors who are by no means expert instrumentalists.

In an ideal world we'd all start at the top and have nothing but the best as far as education for our kids in any field but that just isn't feasible for so many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that so many of the top pros resent teaching absolute beginners anyway. Parents will always gravitate toward the best teacher, not the best player and that's as it should be.

It's been my experience, and perhaps yours as well, that by far the majority of my parents are less interested in whether or not the teacher is a top flight pro and far more concerned with their child and what their child gains from the whole band experience.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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But in the scenario described by the OP I think it's absurd to make a teaching degree into something sacrosanct, as if practical advice from a mere layman is somehow suspect and any words out of a "certified" teacher's mouth are golden.
I agree totally. But then I would, I have no teaching degree.
 

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... i do think that the general young musician is overly eager to teach..... primarily due to the lack of gigs......or their inabilty to make the gig ,if it so arises
 

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I met Kayla, a sophomore in college who's a music ed major and her primary instrument is saxophone. I only have a 6-7 month age difference with her. She offered to tutor me when marching band season was over (november). I took what she said as truth because I only had 3 months experience at that point, and she had played it since 5th grade.

If I had learned oboe the way I'm learning saxophone, I think I would've been more motivated to be better. She's taught me analogies (have a bored face to prep your embouchure...since it's really relaxed compared to oboe) and how to remember the order of the sharps and flats with acronyms.

Sharps-FCGDAEB = Father Christmas Gave Dad An Electric Blanket
Flats-BEADGCF = Blanket Exploded And Dad Got Cold Feet

Those 2 go together, but I came across another one: FCGDAEB = Faulty Condoms Gave Debbie An Easy Baby.
lol

I HAVE learned a lot from Kayla...I've learned more from her in a school year than I've ever learned on oboe.
I believe in the astrology compatibility thing, and I thought since I was a Sagitarius and she was a Gemini, we'd get along fine...but we argued a lot during tutoring sessions. Her personality clashed with mine and her approach wasn't exactly helpful. She was tough on me to the point where I was dreading tutoring and I was miserable. I felt like she pointed out all of the negative things instead of focusing on what I COULD accomplish in only a school year.

She taught me how to practice, and that was huge. I'll use the Kayla-isms she's taught me when I practice. Dr. V told me that what I had accomplished in a school year is what most beginners accomplish after 2 years.
 

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I'm with Dog Pants on this one. His posts voiced my thoughts exactly. And I think the OP is beyond being one step ahead of his students.
He goes about it in a serious manner and will learn to be a better teacher along the way. Most of my teaching skills I have now come from 24 years of experience on the job, not from reading books about it at the Conservatory ( allthough it does'n hurt to read about the subject) I'd say go a head.
 

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Dude do what you want but you should be shedding every second you can! I teach but I've got 32 years on the horn and I'm still trying to get on down the road. There is so much more to teaching than basics. Live your life a little before you get into influencing other people's lives.
 

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I think that young, very talented players can make some of the best teachers for beginners. They have great enthusiasm and as another poster said, they are closer in age. My daughter (now 15, very advanced player) says her best teacher was her first, a talented 10th grade sax and bassoon player that I approached about teaching because I'd heard him play. It is no accident that this young man is the top player at his conservatory.
 

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Can you pull it off?
Then go for it.

Worst case: Student hits you over the head with your sax.
If they don't like you or the way you teach or think they're being ripped off, they'll leave.
 

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I'm all for it as long as the teacher is not simply "a few steps ahead of the student." Especially if you're studying to be a music teacher, the more experience you have teaching the better. But going along those lines, there are certain things you need to be thinking about while teaching in order to be a good teacher IMO. Such as a knowledge of different learning styles, a teaching philosophy (can be as basic or complex as you wish), and the ability to teach concepts in multiple ways.

For musicians who simply want to teach some students because they don't have any/enough gigs, I highly suggest they do not start teaching. However, if they seriously are interested in teaching on the side and are not in it for the money, that's great. So long as they approach it right.
 

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I'd like to speak from the lesson-taker point of view as well, as it seems most of you are already accomplished players and/ or teachers in some way.

My background: I started playing when I was 27, I am now 34. When I first started out, I took about 6 months of lessons from a "name" player in New England. Really got a good grasp of a lot of the basics...Sound production, emb, reed management, scales, chords, transcribing, etc. I went back to him at about 30 and again, studied for about 6 months working on more difficult scales and extended chords. Really started getting into chord/ scale applications a bit. Great experience.

To the point: This spring I was in North Texas for work and wanted to take some lessons. I contacted the saxophone director at UNT Denton and told him basically that I am a decent player who wants to take some lessons. I told him that I had the experience above, and that I have learned a lot by ear and feel, but need to fill in some of the missing links with theory and background. He hooked me up with one of his graduate students and I couldn't have been more pleased. Things were fed to me at just the right level and pace, and the material never got old or boring. My playing advanced a lot during that time of roughly one college semester. Yes, a couple of times he said something to the effect of: This is something I am working on in my lessons the past couple of weeks so I don't have it mastered, but you can use some of these ideas...Didn't bother me at all.

I think it was a fun challenge for both of us: I got to learn from a different person with a different approach and skill-set. He got the challenge of teaching someone who is already a fair player, but has some open holes in the areas most people filled in with grade school/ high school music programs.

I would do it again in a second!
 
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