You can. You can absolutely have a student master musical techniques, note-reading, rhythm, and ear training. It’s just like teaching someone how to multiply numbers or drive a car. Eventually, the skill can be learned. But of course, there are always those that are better than others. What makes a musician stand out? Here are my thoughts.
First, mastering a skill takes hours of work. When people discover my occupation, they usually exclaim,
“Oh I’ve always wanted to learn piano! Can you teach me?”
But do you know what you’re asking for? Are you willing to commit at least several hours a week to piano? Yes, I expect that you will review homework at least 20-30 minutes a day, which adds up to about 3-4 hours of your time throughout the week. To be able to do that, you need to depend on a motivation powerful enough to bring you back day after day. It could be outsourced, or it could come from within. A parent demanding their child to practice 30 minutes before they are able to watch their favorite show for example, is motivation coming from the outside. Recital performances, sibling rivalry, and meeting teacher expectations are other outsourced examples. If music is always “work” for you, then your motivation is most likely outsourced- that kind of musician can only go so far.
But my golden students are the ones who are motivated from within. Those are the students I can rely on and know, they will be musicians for life. That inward motivation can come from different sources. It could be a desire to understand music, a new challenge, or a curiosity to know another dimension. For me, it was the discovery of being able to communicate my emotions. It’s a form of therapy if you will. It’s a moment of release, as I like to call it. Being able to express and release emotion through music brings joy to my soul. So what makes a natural musician? It’s a desire fueled by an inward motivation that will always call them back. It’s that inward motivation that makes you stand out from among the rest.