Music lessons offer more to music students than just facts about how to play a musical instrument.  Through interaction with music teachers (sometimes for many years at a time), students learn life lessons, get advice on education and careers, and absorb information about musicians’ lifestyles.

A blog post on yesterday’s New York Times website by composer Michael Gordon offers a poignant, thoughtful, and funny account of his own experiences with music teachers.  He refers to accidental lessons he learned from music educators.

Two thoughts leap out of Gordon’s story:

1.  Music Teachers Offer Encouragement:  This is one of the primary responsibilities of teachers.  Your teacher is the one person who has your best interests at heart.  A great music teacher will not only encourage you to play better than you can imagine doing yourself, but they will also push you to new heights in non-musical areas of your life. 

2.    Music is Not an Ordinary Career Choice:  Gordon’s reflections on his teacher’s saying, “Musicians don’t take vacations,” say it all.  Music is more of an obsession than a job.  Most musicians make little money.  If you are comfortable with these two facts, then you can pursue music professionally.  If not, perhaps the lesson is to make music your obsession but not your source of income!

There are many non-musical lessons learned from music teachers.  Please feel free to share lessons you’ve learned from music teachers by leaving a comment on this post!

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