This article will be the second installment in my ‘moments in teaching’ series. This is where I highlight some of my favorite moments in teaching. What’s fantastic about this line of work is that I not only teach people how to play their instrument, but I connect with students as a mentor and friend.
The greatest goal that I can achieve is to help someone fall in love with music. To be able to push them past the tedious phase of learning how to hold the instrument, how to practice, how to look at music, etc. And then seeing them turn that into a lifelong passion.
I am going to call this student ‘couch’. If you read the last article, you will notice that there is definitely a theme in names going on.
Couch came to me looking for Banjo lessons in Eugene, Oregon.. They were like many of us at that time. In a pandemic flunk. They had recently just gone on a huge backpacking trip and were looking for something to help improve her quality of day to day life. And what better way to do that than add in music.
Couch was a very quick learner. Starting off with the basic chord shapes, tabs, rolls, etc. And they just took off. It is worth noting that they had some music background, which I think helped, but regardless, Couch practiced all the time!
Quickly they became one of my favorite students. Which I must say is a big perk of the job. I make so many friends doing this! Anyway, they ended up taking lessons for about 8 months. After that Couch and I parted ways due to couch going to grad school. Which is where one of my favorite moments in teaching happened!
I was getting ready to embark on my Appalachian Trail trip and since they had been backpacking before we would chat about this after the lesson sometimes. So on the last lesson they came with a grocery bag filled with everything that they craved while backpacking. Fancy chips, pickles, coke (In a bottle no less!), fancy beer, and garlic seasoning.
It sounds silly as i’m writing it, but it was the best parting from a student that i’ve ever had. It was so thoughtful and kind. It was easy to tell that they were thankful for their time working with me, and I was thankful for my time working with them.
The last thing couch said to me was that they had successfully fallen in love with music; They were in it for life.
My goal had been achieved.