Priorities for Teaching

Key Points I follow per lesson

  1. Posture of Body and Instrument (including bow holds)
  2. Tone – the bow stroke
  3. Intonation – Left hand fingers
  4. Musicality – musical sensitivity
  5. Notes & Bowings of new pieces

Setting Our Lesson Intention: Bow (no, not the stick this time)

Recently, I’ve decided to start an initiative with each of my students. Those who are in 5th grade and above are responsible for remembering our lesson intention, stated below. Previously, we merely practiced the “Bow” to bookend the lesson; also, to practice bowing, so that after a performance it doesn’t feel weird or awkward to bow. In the Suzuki tradition, the Bow also symbolizes respect and thankfulness both to the teacher/audience and student for time and the experience. I’ve come into taking the opportunity in each lesson, bookending not only with the Bow but setting a focus so that from Bow to Bow, the students are more aware of the way I feel about each lesson I teach and every lesson I receive (yes, teachers still take lessons, too!). The “Lesson Intention” as I have come to call it is similar in thought and tradition to any workout or Yoga practice: it focuses energy and lays a path for focused discourse. By saying and observing the Intention, I’m by no means not allowing for a conversation in lesson, however: the mantra “play more, talk less” also comes. We can learn so much by observation and listening more.

The Lesson Intention (as of 10/10/17):

We are fortunate to be here in this space to learn about beauty, love, and discipline. Multitudes around the world are dying from war, illness, and neglect yet we are not among them. In order to get the most benefit of my time with Ms. Anne, I will consciously listen and implement instruction without hesitation. I will only speak if I have a question relating to the subject matter because other stories and events in my life are outside this space and eat up valuable time my parents are paying for. 

My lesson time is the only time per week to learn as much as I can about music from Ms. Anne. I will be prepared every week even bringing questions so that I can learn exactly what I need so that I can be exactly the kind of musician, artist, and citizen I want to be. Each time my mind wanders, I will exclaim, “how curious!” and return to listening to Ms. Anne. 

I charge each of my students with trying to come to each lesson with multiple questions and personal quests: Vibrato, sight reading skills, orchestra pieces, non-Suzuki pieces, etc. or perhaps the differences between Orchestral playing and Solo playing, or why do we stand? Also, I’m still a pal. Getting to know you as you, I will ask questions and we can have casual conversation if it has to do with the matter in the music (sometimes I’ll ask about favorite color  or if a teacher has gone over other subjects, like fractions). I’m trying to encourage sharper focus and extended stamina. So far the students have recited it once, 2 weeks ago. I’ve been discussing it with each to see how they feel about it and am on the re-word, but the essence is there. I’m open for comments as well.


Thank you.