Podcasting is brilliant medium for music educators.
Through audio we can have the listener focus in on sounds, music and spoken word which can combine to create a wonderful learning environment. In addition podcasting is still a liberated communication medium, so we don’t need anyones permission to do it.
In the studio, or in the classroom, we expend energy communicating in real time to an individual or a small group of people. The content of what we say is usually applicable to many other people who are learning music so it seems wasteful to spend our time repeating messages over and over again.
If you manage to communicate your musical teachings and concepts well in the format of a podcast, however, new audiences will continue to benefit from your teaching on a daily basis and your teaching profile will spread throughout the world.
Are you interested yet?
First things first
Podcasting is a relatively simple technological feat. It involves a microphone, recording software, an audio hosting platform and most likely a website. In the 21st century none of these elements are out of reach if you are reading this blog right now.
Easiness aside, few people embark on the podcasting route…
Why? Because they are scared.
You are scared.
You feel the fear of rejection, humiliation, mistakes, judgement… the list goes on. To add to this base fear of prostrating ourselves inside our audiences inner-ear we question if we actually have something to offer. After all, there are plenty of people doing this already, why should I add to the fray?
Well, I will tell you why.
Because you are unique and nobody can do what you do.
There are a couple of realities you need to acknowledge pretty quickly. Firstly not everyone is going to like you or what you do. Some people on the other hand will love what you do and it really speaks to them. The large majority, however, will simply not care.
The process of teaching music online is about finding people who resonate with your style of teaching. They are out there, and you will be enriching their lives if you can find them. The task at hand is first and foremost to be yourself and not to try and appease everybody.
If you try and please everyone, you will end up helping no-one.
Finding your audience
Now that you are armed with a sense of inherent integrity, you need to think about your audience.
What do they need, and what do they want? Come up with your ideal student and talk directly to them. If you are not clear about whom you are trying to help, your message will lack focus and it will become less potent.
An example of this student avatar might be:
A 50 year old female who would like to re-kindle their relationship with the viola. They are recently retired, have no ambition for solo performing but may consider playing with friends or even in an orchestra.
Your avatar is a 5 year old boy who wants to play rock guitar and his parents desperately want him to play some classical music. So, your audience might actually be the parent, someone who needs guidance and perspective on their child’s musical education.
These are still relatively broad avatars, we can get much more specific if we want. Where do they live? How much do they earn? What kind of car do they drive? Do they have a job? What kind of job and does it affect their ability to practice?
After enough thought you will start to form an avatar that is so specific that when they do in fact come in contact with your message it feels like the materials were created just for them!
To plan or not to plan?
Of course we are going to plan our progress, but in the beginning it is more important for you to just jump on in the deep end. If you don’t you run the risk of procrastinating and eventually dropping the ball.
Don’t drop the ball.
Your charge right now is to grab a microphone, download audacity and simply record a five minute session of yourself explaining a musical concept, just like you would in a normal lesson. Once you have done that and had a listen to it, you have made your first step and you can get moving with the details of bringing your podcast to the public.