Workshop about the role of the dance/music teacher

By: Torben Jensen
Position: Associate professor at Royal Academy of Music, Aalborg/Arhus, Denmark


This model is inspired by my former college Ole Skou’s article “three perspectives in learning” from 2012, published in “Sammenspilsledelse for viderekommende” (Wilhelm Hansen, 2017).

The idea is to discover, experience and evaluate different roles a teacher can have. In this workshop I define three different roles, that I consider to be “standarts”. Each role has specific characteristics in potential forces and strengths as well as lacks and weaknesses.

One of the points of the workshop is to practice the different roles, or to be lead by different roles, and get to feel the differences. Furthermore we can, from this perspective, look at what we do ourselves.
Ideally we contain and use all roles in a nonlinear way, and more or less unconsciously regarding the differences of the roles. But most of us have tendencies to use one or two roles/sides of ourselves more than the other(s).

The aim of this workshop is to be aware of your own style. To see more clearly what you do a lot, and what you do not do very much. Maybe we can get inspired to use ourselves in more powerfull and beneficial ways.


The teacher (T)

T prepares a nice progression for the class. One exercise leads to another, which leads to a more substantial theme of the day. T is very aware of didactics in general. T has decided who is doing what when and why. T can present and explain the program and the content, to the pupils/students as well as externals (eg. employer, parents) if needed.
Everything is very well prepared, the class will run smoothly with T leading everybody and everything effectively and with T’s clear direction. The class can easily be experienced as very positive, safe and secure.

The artist (A)

A believes in “learning by doing”. One important methods for A is, that A contributes and participates as much as possible. A is a “role model” and is very aware of that fact. A has been thinking about how and why A got to this point of succes. A explains and shares own artistic experiences, methods, tips, tricks and results.

The class can be full of inspiration. A has shown and explained stuff from a very personal point of view. The artistic or perhaps philosophical level of the class can get very high.

The coach (C)

C is very open minded. C is focused on processes. C’s mantra is, that the students/pupils already know and contain so much and are capable of so much, and the primary goal for C is to unfold the people, the group, the situation. Creativity is the main issue.
C will facilitate the class by presenting concepts and dogmas. Often C will be a “fly on the wall”, and by observations and analyzing what is happening, consider, prepare and decide the next step of the process.
“Right” and “wrong” do not exist for C. The sessions can bring people together, make them interact. C’s students might feel a high degree of ownership in the class. The classes can be very lively, the pupils can get very engaged and emotional and group energy and dynamics may take place. C’s processes can end up with unexpected and original results.


The descriptions of the roles are my descriptions. You are very welcome to add whatever you feel is missing, or just if you would phrase something differently. I described the roles only positively. Every role can relate critically to the other two. That little exercise I will leave to you: Try to be one role, and tell the other two roles what they are missing. It’s fun, and perhaps you get to some valuable information.

We can plan, practice and decide. If you find yourself being nothing but “the artist”, there might be a development potential in being aware, and maybe work on getting the other roles “in game”. Real life situations are so chaotic, and the distance between this workshop description and real life might seem enormous. But by reflecting on ourselves and own practices, recognizing our strengths and weaknesses, we can establish the courage to share and change and develop.