The Plucky Violin Teacher Book Club May 2016…
For some reason, I thought I had already read Teaching from the Balance Point by Edward Kreitman. It was one of the books I had inherited from my Mom’s stash of Suzuki paraphernalia, and it has been on my shelf for probably six years. Soon after beginning the book earlier this month, I realized what a gem this book is.
I’ve been using the principles from the book all month as I’ve read, and I really feel the difference in my teaching. My teaching has more direction, and is less reactive and haphazard. Here are a couple of the principles that have made a huge difference for me.
One-Point Teaching. I thought I was doing this all along, but I think I was confusing my students with too much information. Before I had trouble ignoring technical issues other than the task at hand. I think this struggle translates into almost every aspect of my life…
Goals vs. Priorities. Kreitman says, “If you want to improve the quality of your students’ playing, you need to create a set of teaching priorities and then be absolutely consistent in sticking to your priorities in your lessons and home practice sessions.” What are your priorities? What are your goals? Your priorities must be in place for your goals to even be possible.
- Teaching balanced posture of the body, including violin and bow hold.
- Teaching balanced tone production or “tonalization.”
- Teaching perfect intonation.
- Teaching skills for developing artistic musicianship in performance.
- Teaching notes and bowing to new pieces.
These priorities support his goals:
- To help all of the children I work with to become more noble human beings through their positive experiences with music.
- To help parents understand that it is the process, not the product of the educational experience, that is important.
- For me, to enjoy the opportunity to be a central part of the lives of these wonderful human beings, my students, who come to share their accomplishments with me each week.
The rest of the book digs deep into these priorities, and offers many ideas and clues as to how to teach in this way, which he calls, “priority teaching.”
The chapter “Rote vs. Note,” is going to be required reading in my studio, it clears up a lot of the misconceptions around how the child should be learning the new pieces.
There is so much I could say about this amazing book, my copy is now full of notes and highlights. I may never put it away, its new home is right beside my violin in my violin studio.
What are your teaching priorities and goals? What were your thoughts about Teaching From the Balance Point? Please share in the comments.