Eric Nehring is a highly accomplished professor who has devoted his entire life to the art of music and musical teaching. Not only is he a professor himself, but he uses his expertise to serve as a teacher's mentor, helping budding musical teachers find their light and develop their unique teaching methods. He is the founder of the Minnesota School of Music, a musical institution that is among the top-rated private music schools in Minnesota. At this institution, thousands of pupils have been able to sharpen their musical talents and carry the legacy of Eric's idea of musical expression that extends beyond theory.
In addition to his school, Eric has never spared an opportunity to provide a music lesson, wherever it may be. Being highly proactive about spreading the joy of music, he has taught lessons at churches, large retail stores, public schools, and more. Be it small groups or large groups, Eric has taught more than 15,000 musical lessons in his life and is spreading his vision even further with his book Beyond Theory: The Making of a Music Teacher.
- Tell us about the featured book. What is it about, and why did you choose to write this story?
Beyond Theory, The Making of a Music Teacher is a memoir spanning my earliest years in the cab of my grandfather’s semi truck, to the development of my business—Minnesota School of Music. The book brings the reader on an intimate journey of a latchkey kid from Coon Rapids and eventually became an instructor at a Big Ten University, before ultimately becoming a father of five and entrepreneur.
Beyond Theory is targeted toward aspiring music teachers who are looking to start a career as a community music teacher. The book culminates with the revelation of my five core values: humility, effort, learning, passion, and service, and informs the readers how such values my likely bring significance to their own lives.
- Tell us a little about your writing process. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching, outlining, or planning before beginning a book?
I began the writing process in August of 2020. My original intention was to write more of a “how to” guide to teaching music. It wasn’t long before I realized that those stories have already been told—perhaps by others more qualified than myself to tell them. At that time, I decided to begin chronicling my life from my earliest memories, to my experience opening what has become one of the largest music schools in Minnesota. After a month of self-exploration, I knew I had landed on an amazing story—one that needed to be told.
At that point, I began the outlining process. I stood for 90 minutes a day, two times a week, in front of a large whiteboard in my office. I scratched out ideas, built a sequence, and then began writing. The process was incredibly rewarding—I imagine few of us spend sufficient time reflecting on our lives, and recognizing those who have positively impacted us.
- Are there any writers or authors who have influenced your writing? If not, who are some of your favorite writers?
I am strictly a non-fiction guy. I enjoy reading books on leadership by authors such as Dave Ramsey, John Maxwell, Gino Wickman, and Dan Kennedy.
- When you’re not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
As the principal at Minnesota School of Music, I spend much of my time recruiting, hiring, and training staff. From there, I spend time reviewing financials, creating marketing campaigns, and developing systems. My greatest joy is found in developing systems that develop people.
- Do you have a website or social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) where readers can learn more about your work?
I also have a 16 episode Podcast called The Music Teacher Podcast which is available at the following link: