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Jeff Coffin’s Words of Wisdom for Educators

Draw on life experiences to help music educators be better teachers.

In Jeff Coffin: Professor Rock Star, we learn how Coffin draws his teaching techniques from his career as a soloist, leader and performer with several groups including Béla Fleck and the Flecktones and Dave Matthews Band.

He provides the following advice to fellow music educators.

Teach Students as Individuals: “Talk to them and get to know them as people,” Coffin says. “Remember that they are people first, and that your influence is a lot of times profound.

Become a Better Listener: “I think that with listening, you can have everything, and if you’re not listening, you’ll end up with nothing,” Coffin says.

Serve the Music: “Be a wide enough musician to be able to go into a situation and be convincing and be authentic enough that it works,” Coffin says. “Being able to play well will get you called once. It’s the other things that get you called back.”

Never Stop Being a Student: “We are all students, and we are all teachers,” Coffin says. “I probably learn more from my students than they learn from me, and I think they learn a lot from me.”

Photos (c) 2017 Carol MacKay Photography, All Rights Reserved

This article originally appeared in the 2017 V3 issue of Yamaha SupportED. To see more back issues, find out about Yamaha resources for music educators, or sign up to be notified when the next issue is available, click here.

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