I’ve been a self-employed private music tutor in Skipton now for over 8 years, and haven’t looked back – there are so many positive things about running your own business, from taking responsibility for relationships with customers, to managing your own workload. And, on the odd occasion when people ask me if there are any negative aspects to the job, the one thing that springs to mind is that working on your own makes it difficult to develop professionally; that when you work in a larger organisation it’s easy to take for granted that you interact with colleagues all the time, bouncing ideas off of one another, learning from each other’s triumphs and each other’s errors. As lovely as it is to be my own little island, I miss the opportunity to learn from other teachers and musicians.
There are alternative ways to connect with others and improve my own practises, though. This summer I participated in a the Opera North ‘Couch to Chorus’ – a virtual singing group led by professional singers / singing teachers. It was partly about getting ideas for my own students – how to help them improve on pitching and vocal tone, and partly to put myself into the shoes of the learner: remember how it feels to be taught rather than to teach. With the latter in mind, this week I’m starting out on another venture that’s all about putting myself outside my comfort zone, trying new things and experiencing things from the point of view of a total novice: I’m starting private French language lessons over Zoom. I’m really looking forward to it but, like my students often report to me, I’m also feeling a little bit nervous. I know the anxiety I’m experiencing is irrational: my teacher is very experienced and will no doubt put me at ease, figure out where I am so far and gently help to improve my skills at a pace that I can manage. But, I know that the feeling of trepidation inside me is normal and natural. It reminds me that this is how students feel coming to me for the first time (even though I know they have absolutely nothing to be nervous about).
This week’s slots
Next week is half term, and I will be working most of it as usual (or in as normal a capacity as possible in the middle of our Covid craziness!). And, for this coming week there’s just one free slot for you to book into should you wish to have a go at something musical:
- Mon 8th Feb
If you’ve never played or sung before, don’t be shy – everyone starts somewhere! In the words of Susan Jeffers, feel the fear and do it anyway!