We “play” our instruments. But playing is just so very wrong … because, believe me, it is hard work. When I’m done with a performance I’m beat. The next day I’m often in recovery mode. Oh the energy it takes!

And then there’s teaching.

Teaching, like playing, takes a ton of energy. The focus is sometimes so very difficult. I have to remove all the clutter of current events — be the events distant or in my own home — and focus on the one student who is playing his or her best (I hope) for the lesson. I have to listen so very carefully. And I have to attempt to get each student to learn to listen as well. That can be tricky.

“What did you hear?”

The first time I ask a student that question I get a befuddled look. Sometimes I think the student has decided I’m an idiot! “Oboe!” might be her response. Or “Notes!” might come from him. Of course what I really am asking is “What did you hear that you would like to do better next time?”

I think I’ll put it that way this next week and see what my students come up with.

As I have told so many of them, one thing about what we do is that it can always be better. It’s the fun and the curse of this profession, I suppose. No room for boredom. But sometimes rather frustrating!

Today I had seven students. I’m now depleted of energy, but my weekend has begun and I don’t see another student until Tuesday. Time to relax, recuperate, and look forward to the next week of teaching.

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