According to David Starnes, the root of peer mentorship is “giving someone a chance.” He also went on to say that the best people make the best teachers. There’s no argument that a teacher can make or break a class or experience for some people. That’s why it’s important to realize the importance of great teachers and mentors in our lives, and how we can become on one of these great mentors.

The Peer Teaching Program at the Music for All Summer Symposium is new for 2017, so it was a great chance for the students to have a more one-on-one interaction with the faculty. It enables each student in the program to have a chance to speak, voice their opinions, and ask questions. It was also a good opportunity for David to be able to ask the students his own questions. The first being what encouraged you to pursue becoming a peer teacher? Many of the students have plans on becoming future band directors, while others simply want to learn how to better motivate people and give back. One student even stated he wanted to learn how to make better mistakes.

The next question was what does a great peer mentor look like to you? It was almost unanimous that a great peer teacher is someone who inspires; it’s someone that has found a passion or helps others find theirs.

Peer teaching is different than regular teaching though. It’s about balancing the line between being a friend or equal and being the leader or mentor in charge. There are so many variables that you won’t be able to see coming when you become a leader. The Peer Teaching Program at the Summer Symposium is a great why for these students and future leaders to learn all the skills they need to help, motivate, and inspire not only their bands back home but anyone else they might come into contact with in their lives.