"You don't learn something when you hear about it. You learn something when you do it or teach it."
- David Cutler (Author of "The Savvy Musician")
These wise words came from my good friend and colleague, Dr. David Cutler, at the beginning of The Savvy Musician In ACTION Retreat back in June. As another school year begins, these are great words for all teachers to remember, from elementary school to college. I know I can occasionally fall into the trap of telling my students all about something at great length rather than giving them simply a general idea and then making them try it themselves.
Students learn a little bit about a new concept by listening to an expert speak about it. But they learn a lot more about it by actually doing it. That includes succeeding and failing. The power of our students doing the very skill we as teachers are trying to impart is simply priceless.
And the second half of the above quote is why all students, no matter what level they are, should be teaching someone something about what they are trying to master. It's amazing how well you have to know a subject in order to explain it to someone else in a succinct, understandable manner. I started teaching private lessons when I was a senior in high school. The experience I had teaching those three students (4th, 8th and 10th graders) was invaluable to my development as a musician.
The power of doing (and teaching) is simply priceless.