December 23, 2009 at 8:38 AM
"I am mentally preparing myself for the five-year-old mind. I want to come down to their physical limitations and up to their sense of wonder and awe." -Dr. Suzuki
As a violin teacher, a subject that seems to crop up a lot in my daily work is the notion of "fun." Students would, of course, rather have fun than work. Teachers strive to create both fun AND productive activities. Parents worry that their child is not having fun anymore while practicing at home.
There are mountains of books written (which, of course, I've read) pouring over how to make a fun learning environment. What does and doesn't work in different educational settings is covered ad nauseum.
I realized the other day after coming across the above Dr. Suzuki quote that it's kind of ironic how much adults over-analyze "fun." What a fun lesson really boils down to is: if the teacher is not having fun, why should the kids? The essence of fun is that it's entertaining, not hard to do and slightly spontaneous. Children get that. As adults we naturally lose our sense of spontaneity. Life has to be at least be partially planned out in order to function.
Teaching requires a constant reevaluation of one's presentation. If an activity you read about falls flat once you actually try it, it doesn't necessarily mean that you're a bad teacher or bad parent. It just means that it didn't mesh with your own personal style.
Yes this theory also applies to grown ups! Recently, my teacher told to become more serious about the metronome... (In my head, metronome was = to a killer because I had bad experiences of playing like a mechanical soldier with this thing) but on the contrary, now that I'm older, more mature and realize this device is not intended to make you play as a mechanical soldier nor to be a ridicoulous competition against a machine (since you put it at the tempo you want!), I began to realize all the benifits of training my body in time and how it can help you with bowing and technical aspects.
So, I began to find it fun, it's like playing with a conductor that isn't mean since you set it as you want lol in addition it is cool to hear the piano part in your head and the metronome almosts begin to sound like the piano (how weird)
So I realize more and more that how you see things can make a huge difference for if it's fun or not!!! I agree that trying to intellectualize or over analyse "fun" can become a little ridiculous. We just have to unbutton up a little our mind to understand "fun".
Your students are lucky that you understand this!
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