United Conservatory of Music - January 2020




STUDENTS OVER EGO Why Does UCM Have so Many Teachers?

When I was first learning music, I discovered very early that private instructors can be really hit-or-miss. That’s because I missed a lot. They weren’t bad teachers — in fact, most of my instructors were very talented musicians — but they rarely connected with me as a student. I have always learned best when I’m shown something, but unfortunately, most of my instructors insisted on telling me why I should or shouldn’t do something a certain way instead of showing me with their skills. I was a stubborn kid, so when instructors told me something rather than showed me, I would keep doing things my own way. This pattern ended up setting me back irreparably. I didn’t realize what a difference a good teacher would make until I met my first great instructor in my 20s. I’m a good violinist, but I’m nowhere near as skilled as I could have been had I found the right instructors earlier in my life. This is why I care so deeply about making sure our students at the United Conservatory of Music really click with their teachers. If you don’t connect with your instructor, it’s going to be hard to learn something, much less develop a passion for it. Connecting with your instructor is key in any subject. At UCM, we hire many different teachers, so if a student feels like they aren’t getting what they need from their current instructor, they can see if they work better with another instructor’s teaching style. Our teachers know from personal experience the importance of having a music instructor you really click with, so if a student wants to try a different teacher, there are no bruised egos or hurt feelings. Ultimately, our goal is to see students fall in love with music, no matter which teacher they end up choosing. “If you don’t connect with your instructor, it’s going to be hard to learn something, much less develop a passion for it.”

In some cases, a private lesson with an instructor might not be the best fit either, especially for younger musicians. Young children can have a really hard time focusing in private lessons, but music has been shown to help with childhood

development. This is why we’re introducing additional group classes, including our Little Shakers and Jr. Shakers children’s classes.

Younger kids need a basic, fun introduction to music, and we’ve found group lessons to be the best environment for that. We’ve created these new classes so kids of similar ages and abilities can be introduced to music together. The goal is to build a good foundation until they reach the point where they’re ready to graduate into private lessons. In addition to making sure students have access to the right teachers and the right lessons, my goal is to see that the rest of UMC is a welcoming environment. Our staff is friendly and dedicated to our mission of helping students of all ages develop the skills to enjoy music for a lifetime. At every level of the school, we seek to put our students’ needs first. I can’t go back and help myself, but by creating an uplifting environment with qualified staff and many talented teachers to work with, I can help my students today.

—Christopher Scherer

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