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Turned down teaching job - Dumb move?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by nicoli, Mar 24, 2005.

  1. So I just got a phone call from a local Music Academy here in Ottawa asking me if I'd be interested in teaching bass for them.

    - I have never had any formal instruction
    - my knowledge of theory is not that great, although it isn't non-existant
    - my reading skills aren't incredible, although again not non-existant

    I explained this to the lady on the phone, and she basically thought for a second and then asked, "So, how much would you charge?" I turned it down, telling her I don't feel I have the qualifications.

    Now, since then, I've talked to a couple friends/musicians I play with - two of whom teach out of a school of music - and they seem to think I should have taken it. They basically figure that as long as I'm able to stay one step ahead of the student I'm doing alright. One of my friends is a guitar teacher, but also does banjo and violin lessons despite basically learning what he's going to teach for the lesson on those instruments right before the student shows up. They also mentionned there are probably more experienced teachers there already who would be able to handle the better players.

    So... do you think I made the right choice? Should I call them back and ask them to consider me for the position? Or should I sit here and know I did the honourable thing?
  2. Personally, I think you did the right thing....and it takes a heckuva lot of courage to admit you didn't feel you were the best person for the spot....

    For some private lessons, you'd probably be great. The position in question, though, has a degree of association with the Music Academy and IMHO that implies that a teacher should posses a high level of theory as well as formal teaching skills.

    In no way does this diminish your skills as a musician, rather it's a courageous recognition of your qualifications. An Olympic gold-level snow skier might be the best snow skier in the world, but that doesn't necessarily make him/her a good ski instructor.
  3. Well thanks Bill, that's pretty much exactly how I saw it too. I mean I have enough confience in myself to get on stage in pretty much any situation, but the idea of someone paying me money to show them how to play when I don't neccessarily do things by the book doesn't sit well with me.

    My friends, even those who teach, continue to tell me I'm wrong and should've taken it, but oh well it's too late now anyway. I still feel I made the right decision although my bank statements may not agree.
  4. yeah, thats what i think...if you don't feel you should teach, then don't...give them my name...whoops did i say that out loud? :)
  5. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    That was very big of you, and I think more teachers would benefit from an attitude like yours. That thing your friends were talking about -- staying one lesson ahead of the student -- is, IMO, incredibly irresponsible and a disservice to the student.

    On the other hand, in your situation, I probably would've accepted the job with the specification that I would be teaching beginning students only. When they'd outgrow me, I'd reccomend a more advanced teacher they could go to.
  6. I agree with all the reasons you gave, as well as all the tb'er feedback.

    it is very important that a teacher have a clear, focussed lesson plan for each student. it can be very damaging to teach techniques or theory that later will become habits that are hard for a player to break. My first teacher encouraged me to play with only my first three fingers, and not bother using my pinky to fret. Luckily, I was on to this immediately and decided to search out another teacher.

    it takes care and knowledge to successfully teach someone a skill they will build upon for life.