Re: Teaching

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Posted by Joseph Felton on February 10, 1999 at 10:50:08:

In Reply to: Teaching posted by Chris Whiteman on February 09, 1999 at 21:32:55:

The absolute most important concept that I think all instructors should be aware of is that we all process information differently at different points in our development and have different physiologies. The results of this are two fold. First off, due to a differently shaped body your student may not find that the most efficient method of playing is that same as yours. Don't get hung up on embouchure and tongue placement unless it is something that is obviously disrupting the product. Second, it has been my observation that playing is 95% mental and that as a player develops how he/she thinks when he/she plays is going to vary and may or may not line up with yours. The net result of this observation is that you should be prepared to approach the problem from multiple points of angels and levels of sophistication. A beginner, not having developed a good consistent embouchure, may be forced to spend all his/her metal faculties on producing a good sound and as a result finger coordination or articulation may be
sacrficed. In such a case I would focus my attention on the most basic problem and provide mental images to associate with it. My goal as a teacher is to teach my students how to teach themselves. To this end I consider it extremely important to have the student listen to as many great tubists and musicians in general as is possible. If the student already has a concept of what he/she wants to sound like then all you have to do is show them how to break down the technical problems that are getting in their way and provide lots of mental images and concepts for them to emulate. I also agree with all the previous posts.. Always encourage your student to the next level.. be especially critical of the basics such as rhythm, sound, phrasing, and articulation but at the end of the lesson be sure to encourage them too. Some of my most enjoyable lessons I've ever had were a result of being torn down and compared to and extremely high standard, being provided with a very solid mental image of what needed to be done
and then leaving with a parting comment that made me feel that my instructor *really* believed I could do it. Final thought: don't forget that it isn't up to you to make the student better. I think that many begining students come to a lesson expecting that the teacher will just explain to them how to play.. and then they will sound great. I wouldn't be afraid to remind your student of this fact and to point out that your role is merely that of slightly more enlightened guide.
sorry for the long winded post.. this happens to be a soapbox of mine.

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