Do As I Say Say, Not As I Do Do

Where is the line between improviser and teacher? Does a teacher have a responsibility to exemplify his/her teachings on stage? Should an improvising teacher be held to a higher standard than, say, a “regular” improviser? Do students hold their teacher in a lesser regard if said teacher is a hypocrite on stage?

I know some teachers, people I admire and respect, who say that when they’re on stage they’re specifically not teaching a class; they are performing for an audience and they have to be free to do what the show compels them to do. There is some credence to that thought… to use a too grandiose metaphor, it’s like book learning in a military academy as compared to actual firefights in the field. The techniques make sense in a quiet classroom, but everything goes out the window once the reality sets in.

For me, when I’m stage, it’s a chance to see if my teachings work in a “live fire” exercise. Does it always work? Not always, sometimes I think I think too much. I could do better at being in the scene without processing so much.

I don’t know.. what do you think?

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One comment on “Do As I Say Say, Not As I Do Do

  1. I guess I always try and improvise what I teach… maybe because I almost always have current or past students in the audience. Also, I usually come up with teaching ideas from my own work. I think if you performing one way, and teaching an other, then that begs the question as to why are you teaching something that doesn’t work. That doesn’t make sense to me.

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