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Students & music teachers

BY EMILY MELVOLD | FEBRUARY 18, 2009 7:50 AM

Matt Logan is a UI music-therapy student and a teacher on the side.

Drawing from the classroom and previous experience, he makes money while adding to his own education. He’s one of a number of UI music students who spread their craft in their free time.

Juggling lessons, classes, studying, and practicing is tough, but they’re all indispensable, Logan said.
“It’s all part of the gig,” he said.

Logan, 22, gives around nine music lessons, privately and through West Music, each week to a range of clients, from college students to learning-challenged children.

His primary instrument is guitar, but he teaches whatever a student wants to learn, from piano to percussion.

“It helps motivate the student to learn more if you teach what they want to learn about,” Logan said. “You have to have a diverse range of knowledge in music therapy.”

Teaching college peers who have a lot of knowledge can be very different from teaching students with no previous music education, he said.

“Both have their advantages and disadvantages,” he said. “It keeps me on my game.”

His college classes help him to be more effective in instructing, and in turn, giving lessons makes his studying more effective.

Logan is not the only student to teach lessons in addition to his classes.

Rachel Koeth, a UI bassoon performance major, gives instruction to three junior-high and high-school students each week. She says leading the lessons is a perfect fit for her.

“It involves all of my favorite things: people, the bassoon, and teaching,” the UI junior said.
Originally from Oregon, Koeth plays in the university’s Symphony Band, Symphony Orchestra, and Chamber Orchestra. As does Logan, she finds working with younger musicians is a strain on her schedule.

Still, it has its rewards.

Teaching helps her see music from perspectives different from hers. She has to figure out what her students will respond to, so she picks up teaching techniques from her professors and conductors, such as focusing on teaching musical scales.

“If one of my students forgets his music books, I take it as a subconscious sign that he wants to work on scales the whole time,” Koeth said.

And even though her lessons are outside the classroom, one of her instructors, UI Associate Professor Benjamin Coelho, still sometimes oversees the sessions.

“It’s kind of like a checkup,” Koeth said. “He will point out things that I might miss, like a fingering mistake.”

Another UI student, Michael Holditch, signed up to take piano lessons last semester from a UI music major.

Having played saxophone in high school, Holditch’s student-instructor focused on sight reading and technique.

Holditch had taught himself to play with theory books before seeking lessons — which, he says now, was a bad idea because he created inadequate techniques.

But his student-instructor was always encouraging, Holditch said, crediting the easygoing atmosphere of the lessons to having a fellow student as the teacher.

“I learned a lot from the other student,” he said.


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