Environment for Learning a Musical Instrument
Mar 01, 2011
Role Models are key to any kind of learning. Whether you are a Suzuki trained musician, studying a foreign language, or pursuing science! We all learn from our predecessors.
Dr. Suzuki knew that children copied their parents. In designing his Mother Tongue approach to teaching the violin, he taught the parent first, with the child in the room soaking up the stimuli. Nowadays, many parents come to lessons, take notes, practice with their child but they don't have their own instruments and don't participate in the experience of playing the instrument. Parents are always surprised when younger siblings naturally soak in and emulate everything their older violin playing sibling is doing! How to arrange having Role Models for the older sibling or any violin student for that matter is the question.
I would like to share with you some stories from my own teaching studio, tell you to attend live concerts, and show you how to take advantage of modern technology.
The concept of a one room school house comes to mind when I think of my students. My students range from age 4 - 64. I have some fond memories of how my students interact with each other. I remember a student had a very strong performance of Boccherini's Minuet. Her poise, clarity and passion for music were quite striking. For the next 2 years, any student who had not known Minuet but who had attended the recital with the striking performance really had their own moment to shine when they learned Boccherini's Minuet for themselves! What was blatantly obvious to me was something the students had quietly absorbed and internalized.
My incoming students are required to observe a minimum of 6 times prior to beginning lessons. One of two things occur during this observation period. Either the incoming student becomes out-going, or, they become overly excited to begin. This year in particular watching this process unfold was a miracle in itself. For starters, my students did a fantastic job modeling at their lessons. I had 100% of the observing children actually sign up for lessons! They were so engaged in the observation process that they came into their beginning lessons showing me all the steps they had already learned!
For many years these two girls had their lessons back to back (Olivia and Sophie). Sophie has now gone away to college and Olivia misses her. Olivia now realizes that she's "one of the older ones" in my studio. I know that part of what Olivia models for my younger students is also a part of what Sophie modeled to her. This relationship is filled with unspoken awe, respect and admiration.
Attend live music! Just do it! Most of the music people hear is electronically stored, modified, enhanced, you name it. On 10/10/10 at 10:00 a.m. I had the pleasure of performing in a string quartet for a wedding. One guest after another came up to us and commented at how wonderful it was to hear live music and to hear it played on wooden acoustic instruments! Sign of the times...
The flip side of hearing live music would be to take full advantage of modern technology. I Tunes, Youtube, www.myviolinvideos.com! Cds, dvds, PBS concerts. Here's an oldie but goodie: radio! I remember in college, each year the incoming freshman were always better violinists than the year before. I'm sure that it's still true to this day. The art of teaching has been getting better and better and the results are astounding. I've noticed this even with my own teaching. There was a particularly high jump in the quality of my students progress when I opened up this website. Having this site model both how to practice (tutorials) and how to perform (recitals)... the results are obvious. Students are excited, flourishing, and saying to me "that was easy" when I clearly know how complicated it really is.
by Diane Allen
and Auditory study of
where the notes are
on the fingerboard.
First through eleventh positions.
with Diane Allen
Bow Arm Boot Camp
Violin Master Class
Brain Gym Introduction
Violin, Teaching, and Parenting Topics
|Diane Allen | All Rights Reserved.|