In fairly short order, a second gig has come presented itself, and I will now be teaching voice and piano lessons for Bay Colony Performing Arts Academy in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
I don’t know many details right now, other than I’ll be giving private lessons three days a week, for what sounds like a wide range of age groups and experience levels.
I’ll confess I’m more than a little surprised to be taking on a teaching gig. I had, in fact, made a semi-conscious decision after leaving Bloomington that I would start moving away from educational work. It’s not that I don’t value or enjoy it — quite the contrary. It’s just that, if I’m being honest, I’m not entirely convinced I’m that good at it.
I realize, if you know me at all, what a ridiculous thing that is to say, considering theatre education had been the bulk of my work in Bloomington for the last five and a half years.
But I always felt like that was entirely accidental. I mean, my first education gigs were, in my mind, merely ways to expand my experience as a music director. I’m not trained as an educator, I have no pedagogical or developmental training. I have a genuine impatience for most of the behaviors that are generally accepted as “adolescent”. And my day-to-day language is not exactly, well, G-rated.
But, to my shock, something clicked and the kids I was directing decided they liked me, that they liked the way I worked with them. And so did their parents. Which meant my name got around, and I kept getting hired for more and more educational gigs, until it was almost an exception when I found myself working with adults.
There’s a lot more to the story than that, of course. The total sum of my teaching experience — and the impact it has had on me — cannot possibly be contained in a single post. Suffice it to say, for now, that by the time I left Bloomington I felt very confident in my abilities to lead an ensemble towards an artistic result they could take pride in.
So why the anxiety now?
Well, because now what I’m doing is teaching one-on-one, which is actually an entirely new animal for me. And, because I’m obsessed with order and precision, I’m nervous about taking on a group of students — mid-term, mind you — and feeling pressured to have a specific, focused plan for each student’s vocal training.
I know I can use the first couple of lessons to get acquainted, to vocalize, to really get to know the students and their instruments. But beyond that? Who knows. I just have to take it week by week.