The End of Teaching
By the time this post goes live, I would’ve taught what would possibly be my last guitar lesson for a long while. In the blink of an eye, 10 years of teaching guitar has flown by. As I sadly said goodbye to each student these past few weeks, a truth from reflecting on this season in my life became clearer to me.
Teaching was something I stumbled into almost immediately after graduating from LaSalle . It was a logical path to survive doing music in Singapore. It was a time before Spotify became a critical player in the music industry in Southeast Asia. I was dead set against playing covers in bars here. The idealistic younger me strongly believed I could get by with teaching guitar and the occasional small gigs over the weekends.
There were a couple of golden years when the plan worked. I spent most afternoons teaching lovely teenagers and through that, was able to fund the recording of Forgiefan and some music videos. I forgot the fact that these young men and women would not take lessons from me forever and unfortunately, failed to plan for that eventuality.
Despite trying different ideas, I haven’t been able to get back to that healthy number of students since then. Naturally you, the reader might ask questions such as, “why not adapt and do video tutorials on YouTube?” or “Why not set up a private music school?”. I could give you fair reasons but right now they sound like excuses. To be honest, I was stubborn. I wouldn’t say that I did everything I could, but rather what I could bear to do.
Even though the plan was not working out, I’ve kept at it because it was comfortable in a sense. The job itself has become so easy that it rarely stresses me out. I don’t believe it was a hope that things would eventually turn around. In being comfortable, I found myself losing sight of my end goal and simply going through the motion of earning a regular pay check.
It’s painful, but it’s time to accept that this door is closed, so that another door in my life can open. It’s definitely a skill that will still be useful, but I’m not too sure about teaching guitar being a main source of income in the future.
That being said, I’m grateful to all the parents who put their trust in me. Thank you for the opportunity to build into young lives, just like others did for me through the years. It especially warms my heart to think I’ve built confidence into some young men through acquiring the skill to play guitar. I’m also grateful to Thunder Rock School for being different from the others, allowing me to take time off to tour.
To all my students, I wish you success in playing the guitar and whatever else you choose to pursue. I hope you will continue to love the instrument and music. Make a life that you can be proud of when you look back in years to come. It was my pleasure to be part of yours.
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