Dr. Susan Baer asked Book 2 Teacher Trainees to write a brief reflection on the values that guide our teaching.
For many years now, I have wanted to become a violin teacher. In some ways this summer has served as the launch of that dream. I completed Suzuki Book 1 training the week after finals, and I am looking forward to starting Book 2 training on Tuesday at the Greater Austin Suzuki Institute. This Monday will be the conclusion of a summer long internship with Austin Chamber Music Center, with whom I have been making many copies and moving quite a few music stands, but most importantly have had the opportunity to meet, observe, and work with many local teachers. I have also built up a small studio of private violin students who I look forward to seeing every week.
The growth towards teaching violin feels very natural. Starting violin at the age of four, the Suzuki Method has been an integral part of growing up and is still a cornerstone of the relationship I have with my mother. It is hard to distinctly remember a time I did not practice violin, and projecting the future, I do not anticipate stopping. The love I have for the instrument and music is only equaled by my desire to share my knowledge of playing with others. The idea of studying my instrument, studying individual students, then somehow puzzling out the best way to introduce one to the other brings me great joy.
However, beyond the joy of sharing and puzzling, I feel compelled to teach professionally because of two ideas I believe whole-heartedly. The first: human beings are designed to learn from their environments; therefore, every individual is capable of developing a variety of skills. The second: all people have the right to externally express what is within them, and the cultivation of this artistic freedom is integral to sanity and peace within oneself.
It is my faith in all people’s ability to build skill and develop an artistic voice that ultimately leads me to the medium of violin teaching. I hope not to merely teach the specific techniques of playing, but how to acquire said techniques. From the beginning I hope to encourage the use of a toolbox of skills to represent what students want to say with music. It is not the width or speed of the vibrato that I am concerned with, but the process of developing and communicating with it.
A vision of my student as an accomplished learner is a patient practicer of any age who knows immersion and repetition is at the heart of skill building. She is a keen listener who respects her environment, historical context, and her own voice and opinions. This student will confidently express himself verbally, visually, and musically knowing the value of his own input. Any desired ability will be approached self-assuredly, because he or she can apply the same method used to master elements of violin playing. A student of mine will be able to freely contribute artistically, intellectually, and skillfully to the world around them. As a byproduct only, he or she will be able to play the violin.
The learning of an instrument, especially violin due to its intricacies and breadth of repertoire and styles, facilitates an opportunity for growth, maturation, and success. I could not be more excited to work towards a career allowing human minds to develop to their full potential.