Teaching Lessons

Before I go on, let me qualify that title: whether or not I will continue teaching lessons is NOT the question. But it’s a curious topic amongst music therapists.

Yesterday, I had a brief conversation with one of my music therapist friends about teaching lessons. It seems that there are two different camps in our profession: those who stick to music therapy and don’t offer music lessons at all, and those who do. I most definitely fall into the latter camp.

Even before I made the decision to become a music therapist, I taught lessons. It was a great way to make spending money back in college, and what I realized early on is that teaching was the perfect way to keep up my skills as a musician. In fact, I owe several young children (who are all grown up now) for getting me back to the piano — an instrument with which I had a love/hate relationship at one point — in order to teach their lessons.

Now all these years later, I am a much better pianist because of those lessons, and feel like I continue to get better the more I teach. Same with guitar and voice. And all of those skills carry over into my music therapy work, which is why I consider teaching to be a crucial part of not only my business, but also my professional development.

As a music therapist (if you are one), what are your thoughts on teaching lessons? Do you fall into my camp, or are you a music therapy purist?