This question was posed to me recently:
“What in your experience has defined the most significant part of learning and teaching music?”
What a broad, but also important question to ask ourselves as teachers! There are probably many things that we consider important in our role as teacher, and many things we consider it imperative that our students learn. At the same time, being able to summarize what we think is most important is valuable. It gives us a clear goal, kind of like businesses, colleges and other entities that summarize their objectives in one clear vision statement.
Here’s my answer to that question:
I believe that the foundational skills of music reading (notes and rhythms), proper left and right hand technique, and solid tone production are the most significant aspects of learning and teaching music.
As a teacher these can be built on to impart to students the other important aspects of music (musicality, extended techniques, various music styles/genres/eras, etc.)
For the student, I believe these skills (or rather the lack thereof) are the reason many do not find joy in playing their instrument and quit. I have found in my own playing and in the playing of my students that where these skills are lacking discontent and frustration is rampant, but when these skills are mastered enjoyment, creativity and success follow.
Do you have a “vision statement” for your studio? Please share!
Emily Williams is the creator of Strategic Strings: An Online Course for Violin and Viola Teachers