I taught a workshop yesterday for a theatre full of music students at a college outside of London.
The workshop consisted of me performing tunes, explaining my musical approach, illustrating it with representative examples on the guitar, and fielding questions from both the students and faculty members.
I know that many of them enjoyed my presentation, appreciated it and perhaps gained from it.
But I may have gained more than they did, because as always happens when I teach what I do, I learned.
I walked away knowing more about what I do, why I do it, and how I do it than when I went in.
I walked away feeling grateful for the privilege of imparting my knowledge and experience to young aspiring musicians.
They asked questions about how I write tunes, where I look for inspiration, how I deal with writer’s block, how I make use of music theory in my composing, how much I practice, as well as questions about my experience in the music business.
Answering their questions afforded me the opportunity to step back and look at my whole career, both the artistic part and the practical, business part.
It prompted new insights and understanding.
It made me feel proud of what I have achieved and who I have become both as an artist and as a person.
Perhaps if I taught all the time there would not be the same heady feeling of satisfaction and gratitude, but as a professional touring performer, I don’t get the chance to teach that often.
When I do, it always feels like a gift.