“Beyond Theory: The Making of a Music Teacher” was finally released on Aug. 20. Seeing the book make it to print was exciting enough on its own, but I was both shocked and humbled when, the day after release, the book shot to No. 2 on Amazon’s list of top-selling Music Theory books. “Beyond Theory” has since made it to No. 1, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
As you may remember, I wrote this book because I didn’t have my own mentor to show me the ropes when I started teaching. I did my best, but I spent about 10 years going from town to town, making kids cry — all because I knew how to play the guitar, but not how to teach it. I eventually sought out mentorship from people who knew what they were doing, and they helped me improve. Over the past 18 years, I’ve become an expert, and I want to help other teachers get better at their jobs, too. That’s what “Beyond Theory” is all about.
Many people have asked me what it was like to write the book. The truth is that it was surprisingly therapeutic. As any parent will know, it’s not often that we get a chance to slow down and reflect. I have a school of almost 400 students, plus five kids of my own, and it often feels like I’m being pulled 100 different directions at once. Forcing myself to stop for about 90 minutes at a time and think introspectively about my life and journey was really restorative. Being able to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned from all of my family members and teachers really helped me define who I am and who helped me get here.
When people think about writing, they often imagine a hermit sitting in a cabin somewhere in the wilderness, pounding away at a keyboard. My experience was nothing like that, and my publisher and I had a much more methodical approach to the book. Many people say they wish they could write a book but complain that they don’t have the time. In my position, I can say that if I managed to find the time to write a book, anyone can. Still, I wasn’t in this process alone.
For making all of this possible, I want to thank my publisher, Michael DeLon, at Paperback Expert. He’s energetic and was very inspirational to me as I wrote. Additionally, I want to thank my staff for doing such a fantastic job. They’ve really believed in the unique process we have at MnSOM, and through their efforts, our students have become successful. I’d also like to thank the parents who trust us every day to teach music to their children; without your support and loyalty, I wouldn’t have had a book to write.
Lastly, I’d like to thank everyone who has purchased my book so far. I greatly appreciate your support and interest. For those of you who still need a copy, “Beyond Theory” is available in both paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon, and we’ve got plenty available for sale at the school.
Now that the book is written and released, that doesn’t mean my work with “Beyond Theory” is done. I still have plans to promote the book, expand upon its content, and provide additional value to readers. For more on that, check out Page 3 and stay tuned to future newsletters!