the eternal apprentice

I’ve been thinking (as I frequently do) about teaching and learning, and skills and expertise and all that jazz.

And I’ve decided that I am an eternal apprentice and I think that’s a good thing.

About a decade ago, a good musical friend here in town and I were bemoaning the fact that it was looking like we would never get a look in, in particular roles in the musical community. Why? Not because we weren’t capable. But rather, because there were already people established in those roles and they didn’t look like they wanted to step down or pass things on any time soon.

Ten years later they still haven’t done so. My friend and I occasionally joke that we remain “eternal apprentices” in this sense. We’re the people that are called on in an emergency, or when three other people “ahead ” of us aren’t available.

For a long time, I held teeny tiny bit of resentment towards my apparent eternal apprenticeship. But recently, I started to wonder that if being an eternal apprentice wasn’t something I should actually embrace. In fact, I decided I would. The benefits of this were immediate. First of all I stopped being a grumble bum about certain things. But more importantly, I began to see myself as an apprentice who would ALWAYS BE LEARNING. Life is the apprenticeship that just keeps on giving. Because, in every part of my life – personal, family, music, study, work, recreation – there is always more to learn. I will never graduate. So I should embrace that fact and actually wallow in the learning. Become the student and never the expert. Because no matter how much I think I know there is always something I can learn from someone else. Everyone else. The lessons don’t always have to be good ones. But even the bad teaches me something that I can apply in the future.

So my sage advice to you on this Friday afternoon is to occupy your own apprenticeship. And the day you think you’re done….well….that’s the end of life being windswept and interesting.

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