My Teacher, My Guru Part I
My dad is from India. Aside from a lot of really amazing cooking that happens at my parents’ house, another thing this means for me is that I’ve learned about a lot of Eastern ideas that don’t have good equivalents in English. One of these is the idea of Guru.
Many people read the word “Guru” and think it applies only to a swami dressed in orange, teaching transcendental meditation. On the contrary, the word “Guru” literally means “Teacher”. It can also mean “imparter of knowledge”, and sometimes “heavy with knowledge”.
In India, a teacher is a position which holds the utmost respect, trust, and obedience from her students. As a music teacher, this concept is incredibly important to me, particularly when dealing with resistant students. My students (or often their parents) are paying me every month to teach them to play piano. But learning an instrument in a long term relationship with a teacher requires this utmost trust, respect, and obedience. Only by trusting, by doing as I ask day after day after day, will they learn to play, build their repertoire, and become truly proficient on this instrument.
If my students habitually are not doing as I ask, either at home or in the lesson, we have a trust deficit. More than once, I have said to a difficult student, “Do you trust me? Do you believe me when I say I will only ask you to do something that are in your best interest as a musician? If you do not trust me, I should not be your teacher.”
As “imparters of knowledge”, we must give ourselves the same respect that we expect from our students. Otherwise, how can we expect students to obey us when we don’t believe we are good enough to be obeyed?
Do you know that you are a good music teacher? Do you achieve great results with students who trust, respect, and obey you? If so, then you too are a Guru, and I encourage you to think of yourself this way. A music teaching studio full of students who will do as you ask every week is fulfilling, energizing, and creates long term income. Students who trust, respect, and obey will achieve the best results you can offer, and will keep taking music lessons much longer than ones who distrust, resist, and challenge.