Thinking Out Loud – When To Abandon A Teacher?

Education is the most powerful tool out there. With it, a person can advance forwards with new skills and creative mindsets to tackle any problem or to create something unimaginable. Without it, the poison of ignorance will set-in and cripple the abilities of mankind.

For musicians, and just about anyone looking to go into the field of music one way or another, a mentor/teacher is desired to get things going. To get those cogs and wheels turning. To help stable your wings as you prepare for flight…

But what do you do when your teacher does not do that? What if, in you deep gut feeling, that you sincerely believe that the time spent “learning” has really been wasted – covering material that has no beneficial impact on you? Can you abandon your teacher?

In most areas, education is not free – and where it is, at say a public library or internet, may not offer the same catered relationship as of a mentor with their student. That being said, good money being put into education should have good teachings coming out. But what does one do when they sincerely know that things can be better?

On one hand, you should be grateful and humble that a person who is supposedly more successful is willing to share their expertise. They are your elder and have more experience than you. However, at the same time, they are probably not a splitting image of your true idol that you wish to follow in the footsteps of – and it you feel as if nothing is being learned, then other opportunities should be pursued.

Of course, some self-reflection must be take into account. Is the reason that noting is being learned the teacher’s fault, or the student? Ultimately, how can one change – and if the teacher is the root of the problem, how can you leave an educational resource?

Just thinking out loud.

Author: Bryan M. Waring

Bryan Waring is a graduate of USM's School of Music with a B.M. in Performance – Composition and is now attending Belmont University for a M.M. in Commercial Media – Composition & Arranging. During his time at USM, he studied violin with Dino Liva and composition with Dr. Daniel Sonenberg, as well as has premiered several pieces during the semiannual Composer's Ensemble concert series. In 2017, Bryan was a writer for the original musical theater work of "Molded By The Flow," directed by Paul Dresher and Rinde Eckert. Outside of school, Bryan has been involved with writing music for videogame developers at Portland's CI2 Lab, collaborating with the King Tide Party, and studying with Larry Groupé (Straw Dogs) in San Diego. Now living in Nashville. Along with composing, Bryan teaches music to children, receiving the Master Teacher Award for his work at ESF Camps; and does audio engineering for live ensembles. Besides talents in music, Bryan is a team-player in any competitive work environment; equipped with skills in leadership, organization, mathematics, creativity, communication, and managing. On the side, Bryan has worked as a model for several skilled artists in the New England area. Among his other accomplishments include obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout in April 2013 with a project of building a side parking area with guide rails for Webb Mountain Park in Monroe, CT.

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