Betwixt Code and Music

Open Source Teaching

August 02, 2015

As a teacher of many long years, I really never felt like I was in it by myself. When I would ask for help, then people would generally make time to help.

I remember sitting and having coffee with countless friends and legendary teachers as they shared their incredible insight into teaching other people how to play music.

The technology community has a phrase for a similar situation: open source.

In my personal philosophy, I never have any qualms sharing my stuff with people. You can have all of my documents and ideas about teaching, probably even lots of the pieces I have written or arranged. It is a joy to talk about how and why I have come to these ideas in the first place!

Why would I do that? Why would I give away so much that I worked hard on for years? Easy. People gave me a ton of stuff along the way, too.

I called a guy from a rival high school back in the 1990s to come teach me some stuff about drumming. Not only did he show up to give me a lesson in the forbidden band hall, he handed me a stack of sheet music. His time was free, the music was free. Open source. This has happened so many times to me. I have known some truly selfless people!

For the most part, the knowledge that I have about performing and teaching music is not novel or fancy, it is borrowed and assimilated in a way that makes sense to me. If I can share that with another person, then perhaps there is one concept that makes one thing click into place for that person. Maybe one more student or teacher can benefit from this down the road.

Also, I will certainly claim all errors in my ways. All of the things that work well I borrowed from someone else!

So … look for some posts coming soon sharing insight about teaching for veterans and newbies alike. I would ask that people be decent and link back to me if they find something useful. Be nice!

Michael D. Mathew.

Written by Mike Mathew who lives and works in Dallas building useful things. Sometimes he posts on Mastodon. Mike also wears many hats at Presto Assistant where he is a co-founder, owner, and product engineer.