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Mendy Smith

Changing Teachers

June 10, 2011 at 2:50 AM

I'm not the type of person who changes teachers often.  The only times that I've changed teachers in the past has been due to a move out of City, State or Country.   For the first time, I have changed teachers while living in the same city.

It was a difficult but mutual decision with the teacher I had since my last move due to economics and schedules.  I had a dire need to reclaim my weekends and consolidate my road trips around the Houston metro area and my teacher needed to focus his time on family and his work with the Symphony.  He offered to help me find a new teacher and kept the door open for us to work together when our schedules allowed.

Luckily for me a new teacher was an e-mail away.  I had signed up for a local amateur chamber music program and was coached by a violist.  She was looking to start up a private studio at the same time I was in need of new teacher.  We had our first lesson last night.

It was a very unusual lesson for me.  Rather than walking in with a piece that I was working on, I walked in with a problem to solve - bow arm pain.  Next week I head into the pit with an enormous amount of fast separate bowing passages and realized that I needed some serious help before I did damage to myself.  The moment I walked into her studio and put instrument to chin and started playing, she saw the potential source of the problem - right shoulder raised up to my ears.  The bulk of our lesson time was then spent on stretching and relaxation exercises and keeping my shoulder lowered without dropping my elbow while playing

Though I'm sad to be losing the teacher I've had for the past two years, I'm looking forward to working with my new teacher.  

From sharelle taylor
Posted on June 11, 2011 at 12:24 AM

 Hi Mendy, I look forward to hearing your progress with your new teacher.

that shoulder thing is a bloody blight.  I'll go along happily for a while thinking its not happening, and then....(dun dun dun dunnn) I get my teacher bow tap lightly on my shoulder.  It looks so natural to her, but when I try to raise my arm and keep my elbow up, my shoulder wants to get in there too. I'd be interested to know if there was any one practise hint or strategy that you are to work on?


From Christina C.
Posted on June 14, 2011 at 2:46 PM

Your first lesson with new lesson sounds promising, Mendy. I feel very fortunate to have found a teacher who is great at pinpointing technical flaws & explaining how to go about correcting them.... perfect someone like me who does quite a bit of playing but didn't necesssarily develop the best technique back during the 'formative years'.

   As adult amateurs with so much other stuff competing for out time it's great to  1) not have to work on pieces for lessons as this adds to the pile of stuff you need to work on for other musical activities 2) walk into a lesson not having to worry about was music you were or weren't able to cover since the last lesson & spend the lesson just working on some tecnical aspect that you or the teacher thinks needs improving 3) leave a lesson with a handful of pointers that you will work on as part of whatever practicing & playing you do before the next lesson. To me, that's ideal.

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