New teacher??

December 18, 2017, 7:24 PM · I have the opportunity to study with a great teacher in the NSO. I contacted him and he wants to audition me because he is very busy. I contacted him because though I’ve been playing for 9 years, it hasn’t been constant with in teacher and i went through breaks where I didn’t play at all. I have done only maybe 2 concertos in 9 years. I am very dedicated and want him to transform me into a great violinist and i am willing to work hard for it. I think I am already a pretty good violinist already- i am in one of the nations top youth orchestras and recently performed with the musical group “The Piano Guys”(by auditioning for the part). I am kind of nervous because the students he had/has are absolutely amazing and have been training with him for years and years, and i have not. I have some very big goals i want to achieve that i am willing to work for- I really want to get into the National symphony youth fellowship program and become a great musician, but I do not want to be a music major. I have 2 questions given this:

For my audition, should I play the 1st movement of the Mozart 3 concerto? (With or without cadenza?) I really want to prove my level of musicality and dedication.

Can my goals happen realistically given that I am willing to work extremely hard??

I am a high school sophomore btw.

Replies (14)

Edited: December 18, 2017, 7:31 PM · While I haven't heard you play, I think with the right teacher your goals can happen. Obviously there's no guarantee of anything, but it's not ridiculous for you to have these goals, it will just take a lot of hard work.

I think if this teacher accepts you into his studio, it's safe to assume he believes you have the potential to become a very good musician. This kind of teacher doesn't have to teach anybody who doesn't have talent or potential, so it's a good sign if he decides to take you on.

December 18, 2017, 7:37 PM · For your audition, you should play the most difficult piece that you can play well. If the Mozart is polished, it's a good choice...but only play the cadenza if you can really play the cadenza. But if the Mozart is rough, you'd be better off playing something else.

When I am listening to a prospective student, I am at least as interested in how the student responds to instruction as I am in the level of playing the student comes in with.

December 18, 2017, 7:50 PM · Thank you Gemma for the encouragement. I will probably post videos of my playing as my audition rolls closer (January)

Thank you for the suggestions, Ms.Goree. For the response to instruction that you look for in prospective students, I am naturally a really curious and hardworking student. I always ask to clarify things I don’t understand and ask questions. Not in an annoying way or course, but naturally I even take notes during my lessons sometimes. Does this look good? These are just things I’ve been doing for years as habits and also as a part of my personality.

December 18, 2017, 9:13 PM · You are *supposed* to take notes during your lessons. It's a baseline expectation for a teenager, I would say.

Most teachers look for immediate response to instruction. In other words, can you modify your playing, on the fly, on request.

Not all students take direction well from all teachers -- there has to be a click between the teacher's way of explaining and your way of understanding.

December 19, 2017, 1:38 AM · I have found some teachers get annoyed when you take too long writing notes.
December 19, 2017, 1:35 PM · Oh man, a student that takes notes during lessons? Sign me up!

In an ideal world, the lessons should be recorded (at least audio, but preferably video) and then transcribed by the student later on on their own time so that valuable lesson time isn't wasted.

December 19, 2017, 2:17 PM · Mine just has be record the lesson, and then I listen to it throughout the week. It saves time that way.
December 19, 2017, 2:33 PM · I record my lessons too, but I wish there was a way to bleep me out and just hear the teacher...
December 19, 2017, 2:35 PM · Karen - ha! That is why I don't record my lessons! I should though, would be much more efficient than trying to remember what was covered in an hour and fifteen minutes.
December 19, 2017, 3:38 PM · I find it much more useful to make notes on the spot. The act of summarizing what I hear makes me remember it better even if I don't look back at the notes. And: often it makes me realize that I misunderstood some part.

Audio recordings of lessons are often incomprehensible. I will just hear myself say: "like this... or this? Can you show me again?" (Never tried it with violin lessons, but I did it with singing lessons in the past.)

December 19, 2017, 3:53 PM · Han, everyone remembers in a different way. For you, perhaps physical notes on the spot are the best, but I've taught plenty of students that couldn't decipher their own notes even just one day after they wrote them down. Some people remember much better using video or audio.
December 19, 2017, 4:15 PM · I think it is important for the student to write in their own notes, fingerings, bowings, etc. If the teacher does it the student is more likely to ignore it. Galamian insisted the student do this. If it was a fingering or bowing he said write it in. If in the next lesson the same problem occured, he said write it in red pencil. If this occured for the 3rd time the Dreaded Blue Pencil was to be used.
December 19, 2017, 5:14 PM · I use a Zoom Q3 video recorder at my lessons. You could probably use your smart phone. Even a recording device can be ignored, so it's still on you to get something out of it.
December 19, 2017, 5:40 PM · I haven't read through all the answers but have read many similar threads and what you will get are some really expert answers that may or may not refer to your situation. So here are some points you might consider. There is no violin teacher that can transform you into an amazing violinist. (This is not to say, you will not become an amazing violinst, it is a general caution that if this is your expectation for a teacher, it might benefit from a reality check).
What are your options if he does not accept you? If this is causing you anxiety, you might want to think of a plan B to ease your stress. Are there other teachers in the area who can bring you closer to where you want to go?

You are playing for entry into his studio. He has his own criteria and agenda for who he accepts which you don't know and may have nothing to do with you but to some other factors. So it seems that the best and most relevant advice is the basic advice that Mary Ellen gave: play what you play best, and take the time you need to play it well and with confidence.

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