Featured Music Teacher: Joel Zaloum

Today we're interviewing one of our Teach 2 Teach teachers, Joel Zaloum. He has been working with us longer than any of our other teachers. 

Kay: We have a few questions for you. First of all thank you so much for being here today.

Joel: No problem. Thanks for having me.

Kay: We're excited to talk to you. What would you say is your favorite part of teaching music lessons? 

Joel: Well, my favorite part is when I'm teaching a student and they break through a wall. They're working on something for a long time and finally get it. This increases their passion to play music. Then I see them the next week and they're much more excited to play.

J: Joel has a lot of students. Also he teaches a lot of instruments. He's been with us since the beginning of Teach 2 Teach. Shortly after Kay and I started the business we were able to hire him and he has done an amazing job. He is definitely a very professional teacher. He teaches a lot. Many hours every single week. He's very consistent. 

Kay: Yeah. His students love him. They're very loyal to him. He's a great teacher. 

Kay: How long have you been teaching? 

Joel: I came on as a full-time teacher for Teach 2 Teach in the fall of 2014. I was part time in 2013. 

Kay: And what instruments do you teach?

Joel: I teach guitar, piano, voice, and bass. Currently the majority is guitar and piano.

Kay: About how many students do you teach?

Joel: I'm at around thirty five right now. I could only take a couple more. 

Kay: And our last question. What is your biggest pet peeve?

Joel: When my students aren't practicing. I always try to encourage my students to practice, especially the things we go over in our lessons. I also want them to go over other stuff that they want to learn. 

Joel: I want them to increase their love of music. That's my motivation. Playing and growing to love it. Once you get the knowledge of music then it helps you be able to enjoy it more as well.

J: I can agree with that. A lot of students don't realize that it's frustrating to the teacher when they don't practice. They believe they're taking the music lessons for themselves, so it only affects themselves. They don't understand that the teacher is invested in them and wants more than anything to be able to see that student grow and take it to the next level. The teacher actually gets excited about the growth of them as musician and wants to move on to the next concept and technique. That can be frustrating to the teacher when week after week the student still does not practice. 

Kay: Have you found any good ways to overcome that with some of your students? 

Joel: Allowing them to do things on their own. Sometimes they get so bogged down with one song that we're working on together, or one thing that they feel is the only thing they can work on. But in reality music is like learning a language. They should be able to be free to work on things on their own. Even if it's not something we're working on they can show it to me the next week.

J: I often find that teaching a different song that focuses on a different element of guitar sometimes helps. If they're focused on strumming and that gets frustrating, then you can try something like doing a finger picking song, or a melody.

Joel: That's actually one thing that I loved about Teach 2 Teach from the beginning is that we don't have a set curriculum. It's up to what the student wants. A lot of my students start on one thing then they realize that they want to learn via a different method to play their instrument. Then we can customize it to whatever the student wants at that time, all while learning the basics of music.

J: Every student is different. A lot of my students want to learn a long list of their favorite pop songs, so they're focused on that. And that's all they want to do. Other students they want to go straight through the curriculum, whether it's a book or Yousician, or whatever it is. So yeah, not having one set curriculum is an important thing. It makes teachers like you really diverse in your teaching ability, able to teach to whatever the students want. 

Joel: And it's so fun as a teacher to be able to teach in like six or seven different genres in any given day.

Kay: We have one special bonus question. What's your favorite food?

Joel: I've always loved ravioli.

J: Can't go wrong with that.

Kay: Thanks Joel. 

Joel: No problem. Thanks for having me.