An Essay on Teaching

I teach
You teach
We teach

I have taught
You have taught
We have taught

I had been teaching when …
You had been teaching when …
We had been teaching when …

I had been being taught when …
You had been being taught when …
We had been being taught when …

Though I deal with instructing beings how to express themselves through the aesthetic medium of sounds (music), many aspects of existence come into play.

My students and I deal with life and sometimes death. We deal with the good times and the bad times of life on earth, and life however and wherever it manifests, and in whatever forms life occurs; the topics are abundant.

Whether spoken or not, every person has a desire to improve, to create more efficient effects on others, and to be positively affected. What to improve and how to do it is at times a challenge for both for the instructor and the instructed. Even if something is clearly known, the manners and methods to go about achieving a desired result is not. A method can be proven, trusted and workable; but the human element, the emotional and spiritual elements combined with the mental gymnastics provide fair game for the investigation and demonstration of ones will, patience and intellect.

And that’s why I teach — I like the challenge. The challenge of sitting down with a guy and finding out what’s inside his head, and helping him to materialize his dreams, hopes, concepts and desires into reality. Being someone’s mentor is great — it makes me feel important… why not.

On the other hand, a thousand things I have learned from my students. My eyes have been turned to areas heretofore unviewed, therefore not learned, not expounded upon and not experienced. Personal ignorance has been converted from barren waste to fertile wealth, in turn to be exported to whomever in whatever fashion at whatever point in time, besides making my life more complete and interesting.

I tell a student what to do and how to do it. He has a goal that I’m helping him achieve — then he tells me about God.

I teach, I am taught.

You read a book and learn something new. The author expresses and you have learned.

I once assisted a student with her father who didn’t believe in her. I nurtured, I helped and I explained things in ways which were easily understood and readily applied.

Then I learned about Medicine and it’s relationship to individuals, cities and states.

I teach — I am taught. I taught — I have been taught.

Advanced physics and the relationship of pitches, rhythms, sounds and musical conceptions plotted on a graph. “So many notes per minute related to a harmonic function in context to compositional style equating to an emotional response.”

I instruct — I was instructed.
Illuminated — I was illuminated upon.
We created fun together.

The Muslim view of God as modified by European Christianity clashes with Judaism in manners that give the journalists sensational headlines.

I had been enlightened once again — and the world taught fear.

I keep a box of tissue next to my piano…
See Jane play her new song. See Jane cry when father says to give it up. Experience Jane re-experience it all.

See Billy beat on the table and win sisters admiration because it was just like the drums on the radio. See Billy cry when mother tells him to shut up, that he makes too much noise.

They were creating — they were created against.
They had been making music — they were stopped cold.

Music is very important and without it life would be incomplete. People make music, nature makes music, and planets make music. People sing in the shower, beat on their steering wheels when they drive and hold secret admiration for performers of various kinds. Some are careful, some are careless, while others are innocent and free.

Did you ever want to play the saxophone? or the piano? or the violin?
Have you ever experienced playing Mozart, Debussy or Van Halen?
What about the Rolling Stones or Billy Joel? What about some burning funk or jazz?

I have, I have — and I have.

Did you ever want to achieve something and not be able to?
Have you ever excelled in your field then want to get even better — or simply fine tune what you know to a higher degree of mastery?

I have, I have — and I have.

A beginner needs a start.
An inattentive dreamer needs a hand.
An experienced pro needs a swift and efficient method.

So I teach and I am taught.
I instruct and am instructed.
You might have been teaching whenever you spoke.
I had been taught whenever I listened.

Different people learn different things in different ways at different times at different rates. We all know the stories and adages, and learning and education has been a topic of study and conversation for time immemorial. The sage, the prophet, the philosopher have all dealt with this topic. The mother, the schoolmarm and the politician have dealt with it as well.

To teach or be taught.
To learn or stay ignorant.
About what and for what purpose should any activity occur.

I get to perceive life in all phases, manners and expressions by teaching. Life itself teaches, so I am constantly taught as well.

I thank you, my students, for giving me your wealth, your viewpoints and your elaborations. It makes me grow and nourishes my existence.

Marty B.

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