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Artistry

I've reached an interesting point in my teaching career.  After nearly seven years of teaching I finally have a batch of book 4-becoming-semi-advanced level students.  From a teaching perspective it means that I am finally faced with the task of producing an artist rather than just someone who plays with a very basic level of control.

This is a daunting prospect.

It's one thing to start a beginner.  The worst I could do is render the student frustrated and unable to play.  It's quite another thing to try and explain to a twelve-year-old how this sonata she is playing needs more emotional depth.  Where does one even begin?

I ask these questions rhetorically, of course.  Like just about everything else in teaching there's never one clear solution to a problem.  But as I explore different ways to help a student learn musical depth I've noticed that it's actually starting to change my playing.

Like every other twelve-year-old on the planet, I never gave much thought to the contours and shape of the music I was playing.  Even through college I would sort of blindly imitate recordings, totally oblivious to the musical story I was trying to tell.  It wasn't until I had to coach students through these concepts that I began to think, "Oh wait, there are layers to this piece."

I suppose it really is true when they say: to teach is to learn twice.

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