When we were in Sarasota, I found a wonderful classical guitar teacher. We met him when he was playing a concert in nearby Bradenton. We loved not only his playing, but how easily he taught those of us in the audience about the music he was playing.
When I started taking lessons from him, I wanted to ask many questions… who taught him, how old was he when he started, what did he practice, how long did it take him to achieve his mastery, along the way, what had challenged him and how had he met the challenges? And then, of course there is the matter of the preferred equipment: guitars, strings, nail files, supports, foot rests.
There were weeks when I hoped that we might spend an entire lesson discussing his life story and equipment preferences – especially on weeks when I feared I would not play the new piece well.
Fortunately, we both knew that the purpose of our lesson time was not for demonstrating his deep knowledge of music history, theory and technique. It was for developing my ability to understand and play music, a process that required me to make mistakes and sometimes to play, well, badly.
When we find a good teacher, we naturally want to linger in the aura of their mastery. But if we do that – only linger in the aura – we are merely auditors, concert-goers, an audience. We do not become students or disciples until we start trying to make the music ourselves, with our bodies, our minds and our hearts.
We remember Jesus often asking disciples to follow him, but what he says here is “Stop following me. Become a doer, a disciple. Try to make the music yourself. It may not always sound glorious, but that’s when the learning begins.”