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Ivan Galamian -- Miraculous Teacher....


jimmysmith
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Has anyone read this fantastic book about Mr. Galamian and the history of Meadowmount? It shows great insight into his teaching approach and much about students and faculty who had the honor of working with him. Its a great read for anyone (especially for those of us who were children when he passed away and never go the chance to experience his "magic" first-hand).

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jimmysmith,

Have you attended Meadowmount? My kid's going back this summer. Apparently it is still a magical place. Both her current teacher and (hopefully) her prospective teacher are students of Galamian, and much of his pedagogy as well as his complete love for violin is transmitted to her through them. (Last summer at MM she performed in a scary masterclass for Zukerman, BTW.)

J.

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Jane,

Nope, I never went there. I don't go to summer festivals because I don't have the money...so I stay home and teach a bunch of students and practice like the dickens! My teacher went to Meadowmount and was a student of Galamian at Juilliard. She was also a teaching assistant at Meadowmount for 2 summers, but I never really had any converstaions with her about the experience. I'd love to find out more about it from people who went there during the Galamian Era (and people who go there now).

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I haven't read the book, but would like to do so.

I would like to comment that although not a direct descendant of Galamian, I do feel we all owe some respect and gratitude to the man.

So much of what we do (as teachers) often opens us to criticsm and one can pick holes in every person and every system of tuition. However I would advise *all* those interested in serious self-education or 'violin improvement' to digest as much as possible from all sources. I liked your post, revealing a kind of innocent joy at learning about this project........may we all follow your example.

T_D

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It would have been so nice! When I was in high school, Gingold passed away. Of course there are wonderful teachers still (some on this forum, no doubt),but the commitment and craft of Galamian and the humanity of Gingold......we'll have to search long and hard(not in the Redrobian sense). Excuse a poor attempt at humor,please.

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I know Perlman has worked closely with Dorothy Delay (in teaching), so he certainly wants for nothing in terms of being/becoming a great teacher. I do hope he passes on a rich legacy in teaching, because I consider Perlman to be the last great virtuoso. I used to think Perlman was overrated, but now I think he is underrated, although my opinion of his playing has not changed. Funny thing, that.

In the history of the violin there are only a very few TEACHERS who single handedly changed the violin world. Galamian is certainly one of them. I haven't had a chance to read the book, but I will keep my eyes open for it.

--Alistair

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I read it--quite informative. Every source I read/consult about Galamian has a different side of the story: his "Principles" book, the Meadowmount book/biography you mentioned, stories about him in a 1998 issue of The Strad, my teacher, other former students, etc.

I think I'll always respect and admire how Galamian taught. Gingold called him the best pedagogue since Flesch, and I highly doubt Gingold needed to kiss anyone's ass to keep his jobs and prestige. As for what Galamian taught, I agree with it for the most part, but I don't like when it's misapplied as The One True Way (it's possible to misapply any set of good principles, though). There were Flesch, Auer, and others before Galamian, and in the end you have to go by what works for you.

It seems the most successful Galamian (and Flesch) students had at least one other mentor with more performing experience, or were incredibly talented, or both.

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'More than one teacher is always helpful.'

Lets get rid of the word helpful and say essential!

There is an argument that suggests you must take influence from a number of sources. I have mentioned endlessly about the need to study with a true performer as well (if not in the same person) as a miraculous teacher.

The only slight reservation for me is crossing too far across the 'school-of thought' bridge. I tell this story.....

I was chosen to sit deputy concert master on a tour.....this player (the c/m) was descended from Flesch and our playing was so,so different!!

Two of my students have gone to a direct Flesch descendant, they find it very hard to adapt to the Flesch way - a mixture of influences is essential, but beware......it carries special challenges.

T_D

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Thank you, I miss SO many of my students when they leave, but no one person knows all the answers (and besides, I wouldn't want to create only clones of myself !)

I attribute 90% of what I know and do to one teacher, the other 10% comes from experience with others......without that I know that I'd be only 10% as good as I am (and only 1% as good as I'd like to be! )

I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM THOSE WITH EXPERIENCE (teaching or learning) and certainly those that have experience of a 'famous school'

T_D

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In reply to:

'More than one teacher is always helpful.'

Lets get rid of the word helpful and say essential!


This begs the question (at least for me), what can one say to one's teacher that the time has come to part ways, and not hurt any feelings?

I am just about convinced that I will have to deal with this at some point in the future. At least it is somewhat reassuring that changing violin teachers seems to be a normal thing to do in the course of one's violin training.

Any suggestions, especially from teachers, would be invaluable.

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I think a good teacher should know when there is nothing more he or she can teach their student. Teachers who get offended when their students want to study with someone else don't realize they don't know everything or don't realize that their approach isn't in the student's best interest. Teaching, after all, is about the STUDENT, not about he teacher.

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This one is always difficult, I've never just transferred teacher without having a reason concerning the circumstances. What I mean is that either they were based at a music centre or school that I would no longer attend, or I was accepted to a music centre where I would have to have lessons from someone new.

However, there are plenty of lies that you can use!!! (Just kidding.)

The best thing to do might just be to discuss the reasons with your teacher, though I can see how they might take this the wrong way.

Carlo.

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Okay Jimmy, now I have got to read that book. I admit my comment in the other thread about Galamian not being able to 'play a lick' was based on ignorance and accounts from a few of his detractors. Normally I don't like to shoot from the hip, so to speak. My bad...

I agree that the best teachers know how to recognize talent and potential in a student, and how to guide the student to unlock their own potential. Galamian and others obviously had a gift for this.

Inversely, how does a student learn to recognize the potential of a teacher?

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