Students fare best in safe environments with intentional space for their omnipresent voice in all parts of their education. Good teachers do not only impart knowledge, but we also support the bettering of overall wellness, especially in relation to our areas of expertise.
I have seen too many Violin Performance students improve technique during college, only to graduate with lower confidence, lower self-value, and feeling utterly unprepared for the professional world. These unfortunate instances are due to pedagogical failures. This is not the fault of dedicated students who depend on our guidance to avoid such experiences.
I support general student wellness with the following tenets:
1.) I create and maintain a welcoming environment led by deliberate examples and encouragement of camaraderie, mutual support, and constructive feedback.
2.) I make support accessible for things such as: stage fright, academic fatigue, and self-doubt, by bringing these topics up openly, and speaking of my own instances with these, both past and present. These are relatable to any professional, especially of Western Art Music, therefore it is best for said support to be experiential, rather than loquacious too.
3.) I incorporate time-proven methods to alleviate and prevent mental and physical fatigue including: individual checking-in with students on their coursework and self-sustainability outside of my course, in-class yoga for musicians (largely following the pedagogy of violinist, Yehudi Menuhin, 1916 - 1999),
4.) I encourage communication regarding what students want to learn, and their ideas per activities that support learning it beyond my own approaches. This includes encouraging students to choose their own repertoire and études within the goals of the private, institutional, curricular, and/or other structure.
5.) I incorporate students learning from each other whenever possible by facilitating transparency, open discussion, and experience.
6.) In all areas, I honor my teaching motto ending with, “…teach by example”. Teaching by example extends beyond the music. It means to be an example of punctuality, discipline, practice regimen, professional camaraderie, musical technique, and self care. I let my students see my objective pursuit of connections between music, our experience of it, and our universe.
This is the core of my teaching philosophy, and how I approach it.
"An educator should listen well, learn with every opportunity, and teach by example."
—Dr. Immanuel T. Abraham