Einstein and Edison were WRONG and so are YOU!
New research shows that students who learned that great scientists (such as Einstein/Curie/Edison) struggled in their field of study outperformed those who learned only of the scientists' great achievements.
The theory is that students are intimidated by the seemingly ease of their success, which in turn diminishes their own self-worth and self-esteem.
I wonder if the same might be true for music teachers and students. I wonder if when sitting in the audience at Midwest, Grand Nationals or other such places we find ourselves feeling diminished by the performances we see and hear. We assume they are on the grand stage and we are in the audience because we, in some way, lack what they have. We compare the person they are to ourselves. We could never do that! He must have started playing and teaching when he was in the womb!
I wonder if understanding the "great teachers" struggled (and faltered and quit more than once) that we might in fact become better teachers ourselves. I wonder if we knew that Ray Cramer once quit band (spoiler alert... great webisode coming next week), we might feel better about having similar thoughts. I wonder if we knew that a famous composer was not admitted to a composition program and went to film school instead we might feel better about our composition skills (double spoiler alert). I wonder if we knew that the same teacher standing on the stage at Midwest was once turned down by his college school of music, if it would make us feel less alone in our inadequacies.
The person we ARE is not the person we will BE. The teacher you are today is not the teacher you will become tomorrow. The ensemble you have is not the ensemble that will be. Perhaps we do ourselves and our students a disservice by not acknowledging the good AND the bad that got us to where we are. Imagine if the bio in your next program read something like this:
Bill Smith was raised in Eastern Kentucky by parents who were fairly certain he would end up in appliance repair school. After a brief and illustrious stint in the high school band, he was asked to not re-enroll on more than one occasion. After completing a degree in Music Education where he set the record for most consecutive semesters sitting last chair, Bill graduated with no honors whatsoever.
Mr. Smith has been the band director at Middle Town High School where his Symphonic Band has received seventeen consecutive Superior Ratings, while his percussion class has received seventeen felony convictions. Bill now resides in Smitherton with is beautiful wife and parents, who still think he should have gone to air conditioning repair school.
While I'm no Edison or Einstein, if it helps, let it be known that music theory kicked my butt and it was I who was turned down by my college school of music.