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Danielle Gomez

Practice What You Teach While You Teach It

December 17, 2010 at 10:37 PM

The catch 22 of teaching an instrument is that often times you will be too tired to play at the end of the day simply because you've been playing said instrument all day with your students.  This presents a bit of a problem in the area of self-improvement.

I haven't had a violin lesson in over 10 years.  I switched to viola and it became my primary instrument through high school and college.  I realized that if I wanted to continue to grow as a violin teacher, I was going to have to find a teacher for myself; just to keep my playing in check.

After much searching, I found a teacher who could take me on a monthly basis.  This was perfect since I'm pretty sure weekly lessons would have been the last straw that broke the camel's back.  We had our first lesson a few weeks ago and she was simply excellent to work with.

One thing my new teacher was extremely helpful with was giving me technique to work on WHILE I play with my students.  I realized then that I really undervalued all that time I spend playing in lessons.  Every time I play Twinkle with them I could be working on my own bow hold or string crossings at the same time.

While this is not nearly as ideal as practicing on my own, I figure it's way better than nothing at all.  Instead of compartmentalizing my practicing into a separate task, I just inject it into my regular working day.

From Kathryn Woodby
Posted on December 19, 2010 at 12:14 AM
This is sooooo true-as one who did not have very good foundations. And pretty much had to rebuild my technique in college, it's been interesting to see that play out in my teaching. While I really lose the niuances and more advanced techniques if I don't seriosly practice, my foundational technqiue and my practice smarts have drastically improved since my last regular lessons in college. I still really have to work on upper le vel music since I don't practice as much, but I have a better platform to build my technique on than I did when I was practicing the hard stuff regularly and my arms/hands learn faster since I spend all day making them smart on the basics!
From Kathryn Woodby
Posted on December 19, 2010 at 12:21 AM
I do have tow ork at disciplini g myself to take advantage of the here's and there's...a student who doesn't show, a fifteen miniute brreak....can get a lot of good focused woprk done in those short times! Forgive the typos, posting on a phone in a car :)
From Danielle Gomez
Posted on December 19, 2010 at 12:55 AM

 Yeah the no show time is my next project.  I tend to go read or get some more coffee just as a mental break during those times.  But I know 5 minutes working on an upper level piece would not kill me.  It's just mind over matter =)

From Kathryn Woodby
Posted on December 20, 2010 at 8:38 PM

yeah seriously!  especially if i am not performing for anything that really tends to slip.  but once i get going on it, if i can get consistent and set myself a project with some attainable goals it gets to be self-motivating for me.  If not I tend to feel like I'm practicing into a vacuum and go check facebook instead....

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