You have all heard this said another way, which is a put down for teachers of everything everywhere, by those who have never understood much of anything at all, but the truth of the matter is that the doers reach is infinitesimal compared to the reach of a gifted teacher.
Let’s just say, for instance, that my amazing violin teacher, Kato Havas, had gone on after her Carnage Hall debut at 17 years of age to fulfill the promise of the rave reviews stating, “perhaps the greatest hope of the new generation.” Wow. That sounds like someone who can do. But she didn’t. Her story is featured in this post, but it doesn’t so much matter why she did not go on to fulfill that promise but that she went on to fulfill a larger promise – that of influencing several generations of promising doers and teachers in an altogether more beautiful, balanced approach to music making.
Let’s look at another of my great influencers, Penelope Smith, now referred to as not only the mother, but the grandmother of the Animal Communication movement world wide. Animal Communicators are everywhere now, helping people to tune in to what could never be fully understood by any but the very few just a few decades ago. That’s Penelope Smith’s doing. In one way or another the lineage of everyone who communicates with animals has roots in her training.
So what if each of these women, both extraordinarily capable doers to begin with, had decided to continue to be doers exclusively rather than finally concentrating their efforts on teaching? The world would be more impoverished had they decided to devote their energies to, in Kato’s case, a concert career taking her all over the world playing to very exclusive audiences and in Penelope’s case a career doing readings all over the world for an even more exclusive audience. Certainly my world would be a far more impoverished place. I wouldn’t have anything at all of them to pass on in the areas in which I have had some small reach.
So I am here now to say, that old saw about doers and teachers is just another one of those glib sayings that, unfortunately, most people find funny and true. I will leave editorializing on “most people” for another time.