As a music teacher specialising in adult learning, my earliest task is to find the gaps in a musicians repertoire and skills set.
Every musician is unique and they have come to me because they themselves have recognised a gap in their training and musical development that is stopping them play, perform or compose in the way that they want to. It may be that they cannot play a single note, but that does not mean that they are not a musician. We are born musicians. We all sing early!
It takes several sessions to work out the gaps and to understand how important they are for the student. Often the skills are physical and so we work out a painless strategy for the body to work in unison with the mind.
Another thing I look at is how beneficial filling these gaps will be and how much enjoyment learning them can give.
I work out a strategy for progress that appears to be straightforward but offers almost secret results. Before you know it, you are brilliant at that thing with no idea how it happened.
Some students love scales, others want to have a big fat repertoire. Some students have a terrible ear but are none the less fearless.
I have cunning ways to use all these factors to my advantage.
Then there are certain characteristics, ear players and technical finger players, organic experimental players and rigid rule players, no way is the right way. Generally speaking, the main aim is to achieve pleasure through performance or composition, and so that is my focus.
Even a musician who comes to me because they have exams looming and have lost the will to live can be excited by a new way of learning and practicing.
My skill lies in finding the right buttons to press to reignite the musical flame and for new players, to provide a learning platform that doesn't feel like school.