My Goals as Your Teacher

June 14th, 2013 | Posted by BaylaK in Practicing | Teaching - (Comments Off)


Hear – listen to yourself – if you can’t hear it you can’t fix it!

Take criticism well – if you shrink from the truth, you won’t be able to grow as quickly

Do not fear mistakes. There are none. – Miles Davis

Identify technical problems and fix them– I can give you tools

Develop musical ideas – study scores – analyze and create appropriate characters

Practice regularly and joyfully – tone your willpower – remember, this is FOR YOU

Strategize – set up specific goals – knock them down one by one

Identify strengths and weaknesses – form programs featuring both

Stay in harmony with your body – learn when to take breaks, when not to push

Set your own goals – demanding yet not overwhelming

Tap the wellsprings of your creativity

Teach and inspire yourself in all the years to come



Practice regularly, 4-6 hours a day

Listen to yourself with absolute concentration

Record practicing, lessons, and concerts

Demand the highest possible standard in your playing

We are what we repeatedly do.

            Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. –Aristotle

Recognize and appreciate your own progress

Study more advanced violinists with openness and curiosity

Care for your body and nurture your soul

Take responsibility for your own progress and musical development

Immerse yourself in music and the violin for this very short time we have together

Find the joy in every aspect of your life!



Orchestra musician? Chamber musician? Soloist? Freelance musician? College teacher? High school teacher? Private studio teacher? Rock ‘n’ roll star? Country fiddler? Studio musician? Composer of violin etudes? Writer of articles about violin? Competition winner? Competition judge? Violin shop? Conductor? Chamber music coach? Panelist? Start a music school? Start a band? Start an orchestra? Start a magazine? Become a manager? Become an accountant? Write cadenzas? Start a festival? Tour? …..

The world is your oyster, and you have no idea what you are going to do! What you can be certain of is that the practice and exploration you do now will set you up for your entry into the world of music. The more solid your technical foundation, the easier it will be to obtain a standard job. The more solid your musical foundation, the more likely it is you will rise to the top of your profession.  The more initiative you develop, the more flexible you will be in finding and creating your own opportunities in life.

A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be

 ultimately at peace with himself. What one can be, one must be.

–        Abraham Maslow

Environment and Atmosphere:
Coaching is chamber music. I listen to the group with my heart as well as my ears.
I take the emotional temperature of the group. Pre-formed? Nervous? Experienced? Getting along?
In how much detail does the group want to work? How can I increase the engagement and energy level of the room?
How do the individual members respond to criticism? Do they welcome or resist it?
How much time will they have to practice before the next session? What is a reasonable expectation for improvement?
Can I find the key to each person? What is the most helpful thing I can give him or her individually?
Attack is not conducive to learning. If a person becomes defensive, I back off. I watch for cues in the body language. I try to find another way to help.
If I sense people are getting tired or grouchy, losing concentration, etc. I will deliberately tell a story or joke to lighten the mood.

It is good for me to have background knowledge of the piece. Often players already know many details of the work’s birth and the composer’s life.
Where this information is particularly useful is imagining it into the music – telling a story that makes sense with what we know of the composer and the kind of stories he likes to tell. I can help by setting the piece within the pantheon of composers and chamber music repertoire, talking about the historical era, or finding parallels in art and literature.
We are all human and we can all find ways to sense what the composer might have been feeling.
All technical suggestions should follow from musical concepts. If I can communicate an understanding of the different characters and emotions of the work, and then make specific requests for articulations, dynamics, phrasing and body language to enhance these characters, it is easier for players to grasp the whole and to remember why they might make particular choices.
So much of chamber music is simply listening. Slow work (work on intonation, work for balance, harmonic work, matching strokes etc.) is essential for learning to hear.
Slow rehearsing is ideal for developing both listening and playing skills. By having people play in pairs, taking turns to listen, watch the score, and make suggestions, I can teach rehearsal technique for use at home.