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The Importance of a Good Teacher and Music Education

What makes a good teacher great? A great teacher is compassionate, relaxed, loves to learn and loves to teach.  They notice when there’s a struggle with a student and they don’t make assumptions about what kids can and cannot do. They wait and watch, then rescue their students when they are stuck. An ok teacher will hear them, but they won’t listen. Great teachers make themselves humble before their students; they take risks. A great teacher needs to have a deep understanding of students, which comes from listening. I believe every student should have the right to be taught music especially in the hands of a great teacher. Music opens up the minds for students, it offers the chance to move into a really special world of thinking different from drama, dance, or visual arts. The arts function in different ways and in my opinion music is at the top of the food chain. Music is worth teaching for its own sake, because it is good, it is unique and empowers students.


When I was in junior high and high school I was fortunate enough to be able to take saxophone lessons from two private teachers. I learned so much from both of them and without their help and guidance I wouldn’t be the musician I am today, but more importantly the person I have become. I believe having a great private teacher can completely change someone’s life. Unlike a class setting, the private lesson provides no way to escape from accountability. While you can discreetly “hide” in the classroom, no such chance exists in a private lesson—either you practiced or you didn’t and it’s quickly apparent which it was! Private lessons teach personal discipline and build a strong work ethic; both character traits absolutely necessary for success in life. I found that the one-on-one attention I received in my private lessons, I was able to focus on developing my individual skills. Both my teachers helped me craft my own sound, voice and style. I owe so much of my success to both of them.


Are music lessons the way to get smarter? Studies show that learning to play an instrument can bring significant improvements in your brain and that studying an instrument gives children an advantage in the development of their intellectual, perceptual, and cognitive skills. A growing number of studies also show that music lessons in childhood can do something perhaps more valuable for the brain than childhood gains by providing benefits for the long run, as we age, in the form of an added defense against memory loss, cognitive decline, and diminished ability to distinguish consonants and spoken words.


It's never too late to take advantage of these benefits even if you didn't take up an instrument until later in life. Jennifer Bugos, an assistant professor of music education at the University of South Florida, Tampa, studied the impact of individual piano instruction on adults between the ages of 60 and 85. After six months, those who had received piano lessons showed more robust gains in memory, verbal fluency, the speed at which they processed information, planning ability, and other cognitive functions, compared with those who had not received lessons.

Moreover, as a cognitive intervention to help aging adults preserve, and even build, skills, musical training holds real promise. "Musical training seems to have a beneficial impact at whatever age you start. It contains all the components of a cognitive training program that sometimes are overlooked, and just as we work out our bodies, we should work out our minds."


It’s never too late to learn an instrument! Nick Rail Music offers affordable rentals and allows instrument try-outs in-store under the supervision of our trained professionals. If you’ve ever wanted to learn an instrument – Now is the time! Our affordable rentals and qualified teachers make learning an instrument easier than ever!


Kyle Jimenez 

Store Manager - Valencia, CA