Good teacher, bad teacher

It’s occurred to me that the best teachers in general (not just music) that I’ve had were the ones who, even as a child, didn’t much acknowledge me aside from simply communicating the material as best they could.

They weren’t trying to be my “friend,” they weren’t trying to “hang out,” and they weren’t trying to shepherd me through Life’s Trials. They were concentrating on the information and trying to get it across in as clear and unambiguous a way as possible. The absolute best ones had a method of communicating that matched well with how I conceptualized things; my previous viola teacher was one of those. Exceptionally good communicator, and particularly for me since he was a techie type. Fluffy artists and I don’t tend to think of things in the same way, and too much handwaving and rainbows get on my nerves. I tend to feel that people who communicate that way do so because they don’t actually know how to explain what they are doing so they hide behind cotton-candy clouds and platitudes.

At any rate, a concise, clear explanation that pays more attention to the subject matter than to me is best. Things work best when the teacher and student don’t have their eyes on each other but both are looking at the material. That makes them partners instead of opponents.