I would like to ask about how lessons are, according to your experience as a teacher or as a student, structured and paced, the latter touching on the density of material taught within one lesson.
I've had different experiences wherein with one teacher, I would play, say, one whole etude while the teacher gives corrections here and there until the end. Same with a musical piece. With another teacher, I would play a part of the etude until the teacher stops me and then we work on a few very fundamental things. The teacher would assign a few different bowing and exercises to tackle my problems. One etude can then be turned into more than one etude. The teacher did not see that it was worth waiting for the end of the etude given that my problems were self perpetuating; he wanted to use the hour is a more efficient way.
I find this latter way much more dense and gives me more material to work on. I don't have the time during the week to look through different books for exercises or what not.
The point of the lesson becomes not to play the whole etude (with the repetition of the same fundamental errors and erroneous habits) with intermittent corrections, but rather to use the lesson as a diagnosis/prescriptive hour that fills up the next week.
I have had a few teachers who will say: "you have a problem here and a problem there, you can fix it that way" but will not provide dedicated exercises to tackle these problems, thinking that these would be resolved within the practice of the etude or musical piece on hand, or that somehow, with time and practice, proper technique will sort of sediment.
I wonder how you as teachers and as students view the violin lesson, how you see it is best to be as efficient as possible within its limited time.
The structure and pacing of lessons changed over my childhood, both to accommodate a child's attention span, as well as the length of lesson, complexity of material, and the amount of material covered.
I suppose those different styles reflect different goals that teachers might set themselves.
Even though I'm not half the violinist, my experience lesson-wise has been essentially the same as Lydia's. I think a young teenager might think their week's effort was wasted if their professor does not hear the whole of their etude, even though, as the OP noted, that's usually pointless.
For me as a student, the best lesson is one that is densely packed with problem identification and solving moments. Running through a whole piece is useful only when the piece is learned and ready for performance, otherwise, it's not a good way to spend precious lesson time. I had a teacher in the past did that to me. I never understood why she did that way.
Yixi wrote, "I consider a good lesson is like a really good guided practice." I was so glad to read that, because I have one piano student and this approach consumes most of his lesson time.
An complete etude won't fix a problem unless it's basic technical content have been addressed point by point. It may increase stamina and concentration, or the other hand it may deaden awareness and confirm our shortcomings.
In most cases my lessons have been the same up until recently. My teacher tells me to play something from memory and I begin the piece. Then she stops me with a word of technical advice. The last lesson involved relaxation techniques in loosening the shoulder/arm muscles and right hand/arm. I'm so glad she seen this and pointed it out because it gave me something to focus on and it has REALLY helped my playing.I also played a tune or two.
Lydia: "Historically with etudes in particular, the first couple of measures are usually a pretty decent indication of whether or not I've managed to learn the skill being taught, or at least have made reasonable progress towards doing so. Once the basic skill is learned, then the rest of the etude is worth looking at -- i.e., particularly challenging bits, trickier variants on the skill, and so forth. "
Adrain, how to these teachers get by without assigning any musical pièces to their students and only etudes?
Tammuz, so, the question is what do I mean by “A good teacher teaches you how to teach yourself”?
"How to these teachers get by without assigning any musical pièces to their students and only etudes?"
Studies are intentionally repetitive. They're drill-work. (I really like them, by the way.) I know what Lydia means when she says you can get the sense of the problem by listening to just the first few measures. Isn't it some kind of miracle that every Mazas and Dont and Schradieck study is exactly one page or two? Beethoven and Mozart did not get to within three inches of the end of the paper and say, "Better add one more incongruous harmonic diversion to stretch this out." But Kreutzer surely did.
Adrian Heath - A student can always learn and practice an actual piece on their own outside of the lessons they're learning, as long as the piece is at the level they're playing. Because I agree with you, just playing études only would drive me crazy.
Yixi, thank you for that response. Much food for thought. I would like to just seperate three things you said.
Dear Tammuz, in case it's not clear. "They might give students the drills (etudes) to work on their fingers and bowing variation, but the mind of students are staying relatively inactive." is one sentence and it is a single one point I tried to make (with the "but" part to qualify the first part of the sentence). LOL. If you read them together, you'll see we are not in too much disagreement, other than that I consider that I'm teaching myself during practice time and you apparently don't see it that way. :-)
One of the most valuable skills a teacher gave me was how to
Lydia, what you said are exactly what I’ve been taught by my current teacher and some good coaches I met.
I try to let them play through the entire piece or etude if possible, while formulating a hierarchy of priorities that I can address afterwards. Usually no more than 3 of the biggest priorities.
My teacher is not a fan of etudes. But he is very much the same as the second example you gave. I will begin to play one thing, and he will stop me if there's something to improve. Depending on how long said thing takes to improve, I play a bit more and the process continues
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