how to teach past Essential Elements 1
Hello! I have been teaching for 4 years and did not have any formal training to do so. I use Essential Elements 1 and have had brand new beginners for students. I supplement this book heavily with exercises, games, duets and beginner solo pieces, and basically have my kiddos at Suzuki level 1 when they are finished - the whole process taking about 2-3 years. Anyways, I am wondering, where do I go from here? I am very comfortable teaching at this level but would like to build.
I am personally an advanced classical player but would not feel comfortable teaching shifting and vibrato - basically, I am worried that once I have a student for 5-6 years, I will have to refer them to a different teacher. And I don't feel comfortable taking new students who are at an intermediate level.
Any advice is greatly appreciated, thank you!
Graded repertoire like RCM and ABRSM, subsequent Essential Elements books and similar materials (e.g String Builder, Doflein).
Two to three years on Essential Elements 1 is a very long time! You must be teaching extremely young children. I would suggest to you that you observe as many violin lessons as you can; read Simon Fischer's book and also Ivan Galamian's; follow natesviolin.com; basically just get as much information as you can.
Keep in mind that every teacher has different experiences. Mary Ellen has given great advice.
Get rid of Essential Elements and get the All for Strings series instead. The EE series is ok, but has the same stuff as ASF in bigger notes so you have to buy more books sooner.
Thank you, very helpful! Yes Mary Ellen, my students are generally around 7 years old. I love the idea of observing other lessons and I will get those texts. Scott Cole, All for Strings?! I'll check it out!
I do also have a very strong idea in my mind, that I should not teach anything that I can't play myself flawlessly 100% of the time. This is valid?
"I do also have a very strong idea in my mind, that I should not teach anything that I can't play myself flawlessly 100% of the time. This is valid?"
It is hard for teachers to be absolutely perfect, and even they make mistakes.
At a certain state it would be impossible I guess.
Given how vital teaching is in the development of string players, I am always surprised how many teachers have little (or no) pedagogical training.
"There's a reason that teachers in school undergo formal, academic training in how to do their job. For string teachers to believe that they are some how a font of knowledge that doesn't need to study how we learn, and how to teach is both ignorant and arrogant. Most of all, it does a great disservice to your students."
Rumor is that several exceptional players called Galamian a hack for that reason (even some who themselves studied with Galamian for a time). Every time I hear those stories it makes me laugh, something about the hearing of petty rivalries among the best players and teachers humanizes them for me.
"There's a reason that teachers in school undergo formal, academic training in how to do their job."
The day pedagical courses at university get usefull might come one day, but today its still pretty bad and useless if not harmfull. I usrd to take two of them, and was shocked. My wife has a highschool teacher degree and you wont hear anything different from her. Today the instincts and what people experienced themselves as students is still what most do when becomeing teachers. Same for profs at university.
Formal training (in teaching, specifically) does very little to make someone a better teacher, in my experience and observation.
LOL funny, but not unexpected reaction to a suggestion that formal training in how to teach might help improve the standard of teaching. I'd be interested in seeing some peer-reviewed, evidence-based sources showing the "empirical fact that most pedagogy courses for the average school teacher make them worse teachers than they would be otherwise by promoting false theories of learning."
Neil, you brought up a fair point. But! Is there any empirical evidence that could show pedagogy courses could make a violinist a better violin teacher?
I'm not offended in the least. Your archetype is common. I will describe it here: "one who, despite being a beginner and possessing very little applicable experience to the subject matter, claims to know more about it than a majority of experts because of false confidence brought about by having taken a critical thinking class in junior college."
There are in fact formal classes one can take in private string pedagogy. Most of them are in the Suzuki method. I recommend taking Suzuki teacher training even if you do not want to be a Suzuki teacher (if you can, they can be fairly expensive and time consuming) due to the systematic approach to set-up, the chance to discuss teaching approaches, difficulties, etc. You also get a lot of opportunities during this training to observe other teachers teaching.
Anika, I sincerely appreciate your modesty and restraint...
100% agree about Essential Elements being mind-numbingly boring as the main method in a private lesson context. I bring it out very occasionally to use as a supplement; that's all. *Very* occasionally. It was designed for a classroom context and works better there.
I don't know about Suzuki teacher-training in USA, but here in Europe it is demanding and stimulating. Before training, I was most successful with students who resembled me somewhat (poor things); now I can teach anyone, even on an "off" day. Suzuki himself seemed to have spent his long life (a few weeks short of 100 years!) bringing together his two loves: children and music.
Thank you everyone for your input! It is beyond valuable -