Monthly Archives: February 2015

A Matter of Opinion, Part 2

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Starting to teach is a scary proposition. We may see it as a help to label everything and everyone. That puts order into things and makes us feel a little better about our terrifying responsibility towards our charges. The problem is that while it may seem helpful to quantify everything and everyone to give ourselves a feeling of control over the situation, it isn’t doing our students much good.*

So, is there teaching without opinions? Of course there is!

First, in order to understand your students’ point of view a little better, ask yourself a few questions: Continue reading

20 February 2015

A Matter of Opinion, Part 1

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Many well meaning and well intentioned teachers think that it is necessary to size up their students at the very beginning of their relationship, This happens not only in the music world but in school as well. These teachers think they MUST form an opinion about their students which will be the base from which they can teach them. They are often helped by parents who will tell them, “My child is lazy” or stubborn, timid, etc., or by comments from previous teachers.

Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? You have to know whom you are dealing with, don’t you? Or do you? Continue reading

9 February 2015

Mistakes Young Teachers Make or Do We Make our Students Nervous?

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What do teachers and nursing mothers have in common?

Not long ago, I was asked to give a “master class” to the students of three young teachers who were also present. They had warned me in advance about some of their students being either nervous, rigid, stand-offish, shy and even having nervous tics, but when I taught them I saw none of this behavior at all. This struck me as odd as none of these children or adults had ever seen me before.

What was happening that made these teachers see their students that way? Thinking back to when I was a young teacher, I realized how much my approach to teaching has changed over the years. I came to the conclusion that these students were reacting in some way to their well-meaning, sincere and well prepared teachers who mistakenly (and understandably) think that their job is to teach the violin. Instead they should be teaching the student.  Continue reading

3 February 2015