Essays on violin pedagogy

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essays on violin pedagogy

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When I have a student soloing with orchestra, i find that it is not only comforting to him or her that i am there at the rehearsals, but it is also very useful to me as I help guide them toward a great performance. I have flown to Stanford, california, and Salt lake city, utah in the past few years to attend my students rehearsals and performances, and I look forward to a future full of these types of trips. Despite all of this incredibly hard work and constant hands-on guidance, our goal as teachers is to ultimately make ourselves obsolete. . When our students learn how to be their own teacher, they have the key to their livelihoods. I also believe students benefit from gaining teaching experience; you can never know anything as deeply as when you have to help someone else. Most of my students between the age of 16 and 20 have teaching skills already as i ask them to work on specific tasks with some of my younger students on occasion. This has proved to be a win-win situation for everyone; it builds confidence in the teacher student, and the younger student gains a new mentor who is closer in age.

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We must be a consistent rock of essay support and guidance, andwhile it is very time-consuming and often exhausting, it is an amazing feeling to play such a strong role in another's success. Confidence is crucial, and I believe that performing regularly is key to the healthy development of every student. Because of this, i have always held a weekly studio class for all of my students. Not everyone performs every week, but they are all required to attend and support their peers. . by watching, listening and learning from each other's strengths and weaknesses, they all have a better perspective on their own playing. The process of first performing for the teacher in a lesson, then in front of colleagues, then the next week in front of colleagues again provides a strong foundation towards a secure, confident public performance. Standing about in front of one's peers is an enormously difficult concert stage, whether it is in a classroom or a small room for just a few people. When students can play their best in that stressful, seemingly judgmental circumstance, then playing for a regular audience of music lovers on a beautiful concert stage with a great orchestra or pianist becomes much less stressful and is exhilarating! Furthermore, i believe in arranging frequent recitals and opportunities outside of music school at churches, elementary and high schools, private homes, and retirement communities to become accustomed to regular performance in front of a live audience. It is also important that I watch my students perform as often as possible.

And occasionally, a young artist comes along who is stubborn, difficult, and bull-headed, but with such an undeniably strong talent that it is worth the challenge to see how deep that rabbit hole can. . A studio that includes a variety of personalities makes this profession interesting! Even after selecting the ideal students, however, it is our job as teachers to develop a deep sense of trust with each and every one of them. Often times, we are demanding that students change habits that have been ingrained in their playing for more than a decade. The way forward here is to build a real sense of teamwork and mutual effort by getting down into the trenches with them, practicing with them occasionally, and talking through stressful situations if need. I am also there to celebrate their successes, no matter how small or big they might. . Furthermore, an important part of trust stems from a student's feeling that the teacher will always make the right decisions for his or her musical life. For instance, instead of asking a student business if he or she feels ready for a concert, the teacher needs to declare readiness or lack thereof. . Students can sense uncertainty in a teacher and it builds a lack of confidence and trust.

essays on violin pedagogy

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All of these fundamentals must be mostly in place from a young age and honed for years and years. If they are biography not, it takes a very special and determined college student to change poor technique and sound at the violinistically ripe age. It is possible, however, as I have ample experience with pupils in this category and also a certain compassion for them, having been a late bloomer myself. My great mentor instilled in me that selecting the right students is the first piece of the puzzle. This doesn't always mean that these are the most obviously gifted students in the traditional sense of the word, but they must be hungry for the violin and for life! I typically look for students who can be flexible, easily molded, and with an incredibly positive attitude and passion for hard work. Sometimes students come to us with raw talent that is rough around the edges, mostly in need of more discipline and better practice habits. Other times, students have greater violin limitations, but are set up well, are smart, and can easily learn and grow. .

But practicing is not only about solving technical problems. . The heart of my teaching comes down to developing a student's beauty, range and power of sound to its maximum potential. A violinist's sound is crucial to a successful career. Sound is intonation, musicality, and core technique combined. No matter how many paganini caprices someone can blast through, the ability to draw a gorgeous tone trumps a flashy yet mediocre sound. A violinist's sound is not usually a genetic gift; it must be taught and constantly nurtured. If a student's mechanisms for vibrato, shifting, and bow control are incorrect, his or her ability to make world-class sound is greatly diminished, no matter how sophisticated a musician this person otherwise might. .

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essays on violin pedagogy

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For example, when working on a left hand problem, like a missed shift, it is tempting to simply repeat it over and nurses over until it eventually corrects itself. This is training the ear to allow and even expect mistakes. Taking a deep breath and demanding perfection in that shift, studying the motion with your eyes, delivers more reliable success. I believe strongly that putting significant pressure on oneself in the practice room builds trust and comfort on the performance stage. Practicing should have a constant spark of creativity. .

Difficult passages, particularly fast passages, shouldn't be practiced only from beginning to end with a fingers-crossed attitude, but essay should be rehearsed forward, backward, upside down and inside out. Confidence in performance comes from knowing every note like an old friend. A fast arpeggio or scale, for instance, could be practiced starting from different anchor points within—the middle, an offbeat, or any seemingly strange position. The ability to nail a passage from all angles will solidify it that much more in the hands and memory. . All of this focused practice-roomwork will ensure a more relaxed and enjoyable performance!

That's coaching, not pedagogy. Work on the bow hold, if needed, must take place at every lesson for an extended amount of time—months, sometimes even years. . Oftentimes we stop short of making a significant jump forward with a student because we as teachers simply lose our stamina. My mentor once said that even though he might become tired teaching 6 or 7 students in a day, hour after hour, for those students, that is a precious hour of their week and our job is to ignite the inspiration in each and every. Teaching is a dynamic profession full of creativity and problem solving. We are at the same time disciplinarians, cheerleaders, poets, psychologists, and violinists.


As a performer myself, i demonstrate frequently in front of my students. In fact, i will often choose passages that I can't play perfectly myself but that i am able to greatly improve right in front of their eyes. My goal in doing this is to show them how in a relatively short amount of time, but with immense focus, one can solve a problem; in a sense, i am practicing in front of them. The art of effective practice is arguably the most critical skill a teacher must pass on to a student. . quantity, the sheer number of daily hours, is of course important and necessary, but quality is typically overlooked by eager young students. . Those who learn to master time management in the practice room can get as much done in one hour as their colleagues might accomplish in dozens of hours.

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Most empire of the major violin pedagogues of the past century started in their early twenties and, understanding this as tradition and necessity, i have been teaching for over ten years, building my studio into a successful operation by the age of thirty. Becoming a great teacher is a full time commitment to the art. This includes not only guiding every student in technical and musical development, but also honing skills from the practice room to the performance stage. There must be a plan that is uniquely crafted for each individual pupil and I find it fascinating to notice how vastly this agenda varies from student to student. While one violinist might need to be on a diet of scales and etudes, another pupils prescription might be to perform a new short piece every week in studio class to strengthen nerves and boost temperament. Furthermore, effective teaching means holding absolute accountability. A technique taught at one lesson must be followed up in the next essay lesson. Mentioning to a student that his or her bow hold needs work and simply demonstrating a couple of times is not enough.

essays on violin pedagogy

For years I had a essay front row seat to the endless hours. Lipsett poured into his students, nurturing, working, and cracking the whip to transform them, pushing the boundaries of what was possible to achieve with each individual. . i also saw how dramatically my own transformation occurred, from a scrappy talented kid into a polished concert violinist with an emerging violin studio of my own. I was taught by my teacher to never stop working, to never stop searching for better sound and for all the technical prowess that goes into saying the most artistically. . That work ethic soon became all i knew, and some of my best playing was, and still is, ahead. . This is the cornerstone of my own teaching philosophy. In the years after school, i went on to solo with many of the country's top orchestras and would concertize regularly, but my main focus became, and will always be, my students. In the same way that mastering the performance of the violin takes years and many thousands of hours of dedication and experience, so does great teaching.

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essays on violin pedagogy
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