I find this topic interesting because I never really thought about what background people/professionals come from. I do believe that to a certain extent people that come from a musical background it is easier to understand why you have to practice, score study etc as much as you do. I know from my background that my mother played flute in high school and my siblings did the same. I have learned through the years that I don’t them somethings and I avoid phone calls etc when I am close to exams or major performances. I do believe that people that come from more musical backgrounds have more support from their family and they could also experience more pressure to meet a higher standard. I do agree with Kohut when he mentions Suzuki stating “Talent is no accident of birth” (p103). Even the professionals have to practice at some point, but some techniques come to them easier. I also agree with Kohut their is nothing we are able to do to change the circumstances and I enjoy teaching both types of students. I am able to relate more to students that come from a non-musical family, but I enjoy learning about students that come from a musical family. Both types of students teach me new things.
Weaknesses in Music-Teacher Training
When Kohut speaks about first year teachers using trial and error and how he believes that this is “difficult to justify”. It makes me believe that he thinks everyone should have a standard way of teaching. I don’t agree with this and yes everyone will bring their own experiences from being a student, but that won’t be the same for the student they are teaching. If we did teach by trial and error how would we know that different or new techniques of teaching are useful and more effective than older techniques?I agree that students should have more experience teaching because it is helpful, but also teaches you a lot about how effective you are as a teacher. I find this chapter very frustrating because he seems to think that we have no foundations to teaching music. I one-hundred percent disagree because we all have the universal language of music theory and history. I believe that these create our foundations of teaching and scales are universal. Music is not a subject that you can say this is exactly how you will teach your students all of your students. Music is an art form and people are different so we have to accommodate our students so this makes the teacher unable to teach every student in the same way.
Problems in the Use of Literal Verbal Instructions
I believe that sometimes teachers may use too much verbal commands to help the student which can create a mind overload. This may also lead to paralysis by analysis. I also believe that in teacher I am teach my student to be able to teach themselves so we have a lot of verbal conversation at times which includes me questioning what the student thinks could be the problem. I also believe that verbal conversation is crucial for the student to be able to describe and use academic terms that relate or are about music. I have found throughout my music career that my mentors press me to learn and speak in an academic language. I believe that verbal instructions are important for the student and at some point you should not have a lot of verbal commands because the student will need to be able to evaluate themselves while they are performing and fix themselves without instruction.
I believe that this may dangerous to the student and for the teacher because both begin to worry about the mental aspects of playing. This causes a lack of attention to what we are actually trying to do. We are trying to make music, turn phrases and have fun in the process. I don’t find it always helpful for a teacher to tell me how my body operates in order to have a more efficient breath. This information is valid, but I would not advise giving these specific instructions to all students and even if you are going to give this information be cautious. Some students will enjoy learning these things are it will be helpful, some students like myself will close their ears because it is confusing and frustrating (totally regretting that now as a teacher) and then last their are some students that believe the information is useful, but really causes harm to the student. I would only recommend this to advanced students that you are able to monitor on a regular basis.
This method is very effective when teaching some concepts, but it is not my favorite method. I believe that his example of free buzzing, then buzzing in the mouth piece and then place the mouthpiece into the horn is an excellent example and it is really effective. In some cases students don’t respond well to this method. I know from personal experience I play by feel on the horn and I know what shape my lips should be making so I hate buzzing on the mouthpiece and I find it ineffective for myself. I have also discovered that the shape of my lips make it more difficult for me to have a full buzz sound on the mouthpiece as well. The most interesting part is that I am known for having an excellent sound on the euphonium. I find free buzzing and playing notes of the piano more effective for myself. I do teach my students this method quite often because it does work for them. Another example is using breathing patterns, without the horn, then blowing the air through the horn and then actually playing the notes in the horn. Once again every student is different and they will need to be taught in different ways as well. The teacher should be flexible in their approach to teaching students.
I believe that this method is crucial for any level student because it helps the student develop quicker, but this should be used in moderation. Some teacher will catch themselves playing too much in a lesson and the student will be asked to play by themselves and plays very different. Also sometimes the teacher is just showing off their skill level, this is not helpful for the student. I am also a firm believer in recordings as well. Everyone should be aware of all the excellent musicians in the world and all the different instruments. A good place to start is your own instrument and then branch out into the next instrument closet to you then you will eventually listen to any musician performing and find valuable things from those performances that will enhance your own playing and teaching abilities. I really enjoyed and learned the most when I performed a hand written tenor aria about two years ago. I believe that I learned the most because I wasn’t listening to euphonium artist or imitating them I was imitating a tenor and a specific tenor. Imitation is a large part of learning an instrument, but should be used in moderation so that the student create their own musical interpretations.