October 2007

Tommy Atkinson: Violin Teacher

October 12, 2007 21:45

Throughout high school and college, I always taught violin students. Usually not too many at one time, just one or two a week to make a little extra cash, and I had never really taught the same student for more than half a year or so. I thought I was an all right teacher... I'd help kids learn their school music or their audition pieces for orchestra, and it was nice.

Having moved to the DC area at the beginning of August, I decided that I needed a job. I mean, I have my orchestra gig, but it's a per-service thing that (as much as I absolutely LOVE it) doesn't pay all the bills, so to speak. Anyway, I started teaching lessons. Well, I started seriously teaching lessons. I whipped out my old books (Suzuki, Wolfhart, Mazas, etc...) and studied them like crazy. Then I just jumped in and started teaching.

About 2 months later, I think I can start to call myself a real violin teacher. One of my students (who is one of the youngest at their school) won second chair in the orchestra, and now we're working on Junior All-State* stuff together. I have some other students who are at various levels, but I really feel like their improving every week. Whether that can be attributed mostly to me or mostly to their practicing is up in the air, but I like to think that I have something to do with it...

Anyway, I really love teaching and hope it ends up being one of my lifelong pursuits.

*If any violin teachers in Maryland are reading this, do you think the requirements for junior All-State are really difficult this year? Beethoven 3, Brahms 1, and an etude! Granted, the Beethoven 3 excerpt isn't technically that difficult, but the Brahms is a killer! Maybe I don't remember this correctly, but I don't remember auditioning for All State when I was a student being this difficult.

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