Thrive in the Music Education New Paradigm


in Learning Music, Methods

A 3 part series on Why Music Education is Changing – Part 3 of 3

How You Can Thrive in the New Paradigm

Right now, millions of young people are genuinely excited about learning music as an opportunity for enjoyment and personal growth.

They see music as a way to “develop their creative side” and to connect with a part of themselves that they can only access through the arts.

They expect their music teachers to empower them to write their own songs, to improvise freely and to express their musical imagination.

Music Teacher Worries

For many music teachers, this itself can be a cause for worry because many times we haven't the slightest idea how to help our students achieve these goals.

For most of us, our own musical training was rooted in the old paradigm of reading sheet music, mastering our instrument and occasionally memorizing some abstract rules about music theory.

So how are we supposed to help our students achieve a creative freedom that we ourselves have never tasted? But don't worry.

There's no reason to panic.

Your students don't expect you to be perfect or to know everything. It's perfectly fine for both teacher and student to have a question about something, and to seek the answer together.

Most students just want to feel that their teacher listens to them, respects them and sincerely wants to help them achieve their goals.

You have many, many gifts that are tremendously valuable to your students. You just need to think about how to reframe your wisdom in terms that relate to the student's enrichment as a person, rather than trying to simply teach musical ability for its own sake, detached from any spiritual relevance.

You can also take advantage of this moment to expand your own horizons, both as a music teacher and as a person.

Resources for the New Paradigm

There are many excellent resources available today that make it easier than ever to deepen your own understanding of music.

My own course in musical improvisation is open to absolutely everyone and you can find it at But there are plenty of other books, videos, online courses and private instructors out there that can help you to discover and enjoy the creative arts of composition and improvisation.

These experiences can be fun, thrilling and deeply satisfying. And they will also help you as a teacher, because they will give you the resources to help your students to realize their own dreams.

New Music Culture Here to Stay

I personally believe that we are witnessing all around us the birth of a new musical culture that is here to stay, perhaps for centuries. Musical ability for its own sake is losing its power to attract and motivate students.

More and more, we will see music students interested primarily in their own liberation as human beings. In my opinion this is a beautiful evolution, and it is a very exciting time to be a music teacher.

David Reed is the creator of the “Improvise for Real” teaching method, which empowers students to discover harmony for themselves by experiencing it directly. Instead of memorizing rules and formulas, students of Improvise for Real learn to enter and explore the world of harmony on their own, and enjoy the thrill of creating their own original music with all of the beautiful sounds that they discover. If you would like to learn how to use this consciousness as a basis for a complete approach to improvisation and composition, you can learn more at

Check out IFR here. Or our Review of Improvise for Real

Featured Music Resources

Learn Guitar Online with Videos: JamPlay Guitar

Previous post:

Next post: