Teaching technique question
A question for you violin instructors, please?
I am an adult amateur, playing and taking regular lessons for 5 years, the last 4 with this same teacher. She is classically trained at a very reputable college.
I have learned a lot, and she is very nice. My issue is that she plays with me always. Scales, etudes and pieces. Unless I specifically ask, she plays with me.
I personally do not think this is in my best interest, as it provides a crutch or a cop-out for me. Small errors in tone or intonation, etc. are masked a bit by her playing, etc.
My question - is this a legitimate technique? She is not crazy about me asking her not to play with me. I play 2-3 hours /day-have worked through books Suzuki Book 6-7, among many other pieces-so we are not playing Twinkle.
Am I wrong to be thinking this is a disservice to her students?
It's not easy to find another qualified instructor, willing to teach adults.
You are correct and she should not be playing with you all the time.
I agree that it's a bit overkill. Does she explain to you what's wrong with your playing?
I did do that when I started teaching but never with adults - and I stopped fairly early.
My teacher often plays along for repertoire (usually reading a line from the piano part, supplying key solo lines from orchestra instruments in concerto accompaniments, etc.), but as far as I can tell, he has absolutely no problem noticing even tiny errors while doing so. My previous teacher was a very good pianist and frequently played the piano part with me; again, as far as I could tell, no difficulties noticing stuff anyway.
Since she apparently likes to play along, suggest to play violin duets!
I'll state this like I have many times before: having a teacher that's properly classically trained doesn't make them an effective teacher.
This sentence really stood out for me: "She is not crazy about me asking her not to play with me." So, you've mentioned it (mildly, maybe) and she reacted negatively. That alone would make me want to look for someone new.
PS: I've never had a teacher do this but I *did* have a teacher for a semester in college who insisted on sight-reading piano parts, badly, whenever I played. And unlike Claudia (my/Lydia's former teacher who is a highly skilled pianist), she didn't seem to be able to hear me over her own banging around. I found it hugely distracting, and was then super frustrated with her inability to give me constructive feedback. Some people don't seem to actually want to teach...
When my daughter was little I played along with her just to help her learn the tunes faster. I don't think any harm was done thereby, but obviously she grew out of that pretty fast too.
Thank you everyone, for taking the time to respond. Yes, I agree, it is time to move on. If only that were so easy.
My old teacher when I was young also played along a lot, and in retrospect I am pretty sure he did it on purpose so as to blanket my own playing, avoid having to stop me all the time and correct problems, i.e., he did it to avoid actually teaching me! Probably he was a bit fed up with teaching (can't blame him :-). He was actually a really good violinist, concertmaster of the Antwerp opera. Still remember the day when he was beautifully playing the Swan Lake "Pas de deux" solo in the classroom between two lessons, I arrived in the hallway and stayed behind the door listening!
Good story, Jean!
I've been teaching chemistry for 22 years, at all levels. Working on my grade spreadsheet is tedious. Revising the page numbers in my reading list because the publisher came out with a new edition of the textbook is boring. But being in the classroom with students -- even "general chemistry for non-majors" is never boring or tedious. Anyone who finds it that way needs to get out. You make it interesting by constantly trying to do it better. Clearer explanations, more compelling examples, better delivery.
Playing along isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you struggle with intonation and/or rythm, this gives you a solid basis for you to follow in order to acquire a sense of either. Sometime my teacher will provide the base tone as I play scales to help me become aware of when I am slightly off and I find that helpful also. My teacher certainly can tell when I have the wrong intonation, phrasing, use the wrong bowing or rhythm even as he plays along. We then stop, work on and correct what I am doing wrong, and then continue. I generally find it helpful.
Yes, you are so right, Paul. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m going to venture a guess that you are the exception. I would pay a lot to have an instructor as you describe. But I’m a realist.
Thank you for your comment, Roger. I agree, it can be very helpful, particularly with rhythm issues.
“But being in the classroom with students ... is never boring or tedious. Anyone who finds it that way needs to get out.”
Haha, indeed- moving on!!
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