How to Use Your OWN Personality to Be a Great Flute TeacherApr 11, 2016
Over the past 22 years (since 1993, when I was 16 to be exact), I’ve loved teaching the flute to children, young adults and older adults. I’d always noticed that where other professional musicians taught “for money on the side”, I always considered it a distinct part of my profession as a flute player. In other words, I’ve always loved teaching.
It’s only been in the last 12 months however that I’ve started really analysing what it is about me that makes me love teaching. My mum, now retired, was a school mathematics teacher and always found it satisfying as a profession. She seems to inspire teenagers left right and centre to be good at maths, no matter how much they had hated it previously! I always thought I’d just been lucky enough to inherit a few of her skills.
I recently took an online “profiling” test called the Gallup Strengths Finder (which apparently is one of the best ones around). A corporate friend of mine says that a company she worked for in Europe would profile their employees to help both the staff and the bosses know which direction to channel the employees’ careers at the organization.
What I discovered about myself whilst reading the outcome of this profiling was profound. At first I lamented that my top strengths did not include ones that I wanted, such as “Woo” – the natural ability to influence someone – basically “charisma”. Turns out I don’t have charisma, although I’m not entirely lacking it, it just doesn’t feature as one of my strong points.
I learnt, however, that I have some other very distinct traits, or “strengths”, that dominate the way I think, behave, and teach. It is so incredibly accurate that when I first read which strengths dominated me, I at first didn’t think much of it. I thought “well, of course I have those strengths, doesn’t everyone?” Turns out that is not so – they are individual to each person.
I also outright rejected one of my top strengths because I thought it was pretty useless. It was called “Learner”, meaning I love to learn things. I was in so much denial about it in fact that I took the test again! I got a marginally different result, but I wasn’t able to change who I was dammit! It turns out however that over the following months I learnt to entirely embrace this strength and realize that it was actually an amazing one to have. I’ll tell you why shortly.
Over the following few posts I will show you how certain natural strengths in people can hugely contribute to them being a great flute teacher. And I say “can contribute” instead of “will contribute” because if teaching is draining you, you may be trying to use skills that you’re not naturally strong at. However, you WILL have strengths that are perhaps a little more hidden.
I sound like I’m selling the profiling test (I’m not)! But I am massively passionate about you working out the natural way of teaching for yourself that utilizes your own strengths in a way that will allow you to fulfill your potential as a flute teacher. Not only will your students benefit HUGELY from your insight, but it is YOU who will begin to slowly but surely feel satisfied and happy as a teacher of the flute. And interestingly, as soon as this happens, it feeds back into your teaching and everyday life. The more YOU are satisfied, the more other people, students and their parents respond to you in a positive and engaging way.
I wonder if you can relate to a number of the strengths that I strongly relate to – since we’re both flute teachers. I’ll show you how incredible our own strengths can be when acknowledged, and them how to embrace them to become a flute teacher who not only loves their teaching, but produces amazing students who practice a lot, love performing, pay on time and turn out to actually be incredible young geniuses…