A lot of people ask me why I primarily teach, since I got my degrees in performance. It's a reasonable question to ask, so I thought I'd address it today.
I teach because I respect and appreciate the process of learning, especially the part when you're in the middle of mastering a new skill and you aren't sure you'll ever get it right. I've struggled enough with my own learning process over the years that I understand what my students are going through when they feel like something they're trying to learn will never be within their grasp.
More importantly, I teach because I found the world of orchestral performance both toxic and suffocating. In school and during professional auditions, the attitude of my peers was overwhelmingly one of paranoia and jealousy. There was no support and camaraderie; this makes sense to a certain extent, since the process of securing a seat in a professional orchestra is a zero-sum game. However, this caustic attitude was one that I had no desire to surround myself with.
So with that in mind, I work to make sure that the next generation of flutists, at least the ones who pass through my studio, are kind, supportive musicians. We talk about the equally valuable roles of first flute and second flute in ensembles, as well as what to do when you feel like your peers aren't as skilled as you (hint: help them get better rather than trying to keep them down). Cattiness is not tolerated. I treat each student as an individual; I don't pit them against each other and I make sure they know that the studio is a safe space.
So do I love to perform? Sure. I wouldn't have spent six years getting two degrees in performance if playing the flute did nothing for me. But the thought of helping to make the orchestral world a kinder scene means so much more.