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Strad education issue


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I am enjoying the high class feel of reading the Strad at my leisure. The glossy pages and high quality feel of turning them makes a nice late night indulgence while all is quiet after a long day of teaching. However, the content of the 'Education issue' leaves me a little empty. Noy much in any way of insight, actual real world thoughts and reflections by well known, at least to me, teachers currently practicing and making a living at this craft. Also, trying to read the article regarding teacher training deficiencies made me shake my head so many times, I gave up, at least for now. Conservatories do not make their bread and butter reputation teaching pedagogy and never will. The best teachers are ones that train to and succeed at performing and later develop a gift for explaining how they got there. The best teachers are never the top performers, but ones just below the rung that concertize for a living. The top performers, historically, that delve into teaching, are just dilettantes. Able dilettantes, but mostly one rung below the legacy teachers.


Just my two pence re the Strad issue...

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  • 3 weeks later...

I breezed through it while visiting B&N.


The Magazine is always beautifully presented, with the glossy photos and pages, as you mentioned. 


With your point regarding the finest teachers, that depends on your definition of the "best" teachers and "best" performers, and is difficult to generalize about.


Who the best performers are, who the best teachers are, the level of the student in question, the availability of the performer to provide regular lessons, and many other things.

For example, you might say that Julia Fisher and Maxim Vengerov are better performers than Robert Mann and Gerhard Schulz, but I may disagree with that.


I think that people like James Ehnes, Christian Tetzlaff, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Daniel Muller-Schott, and Hilary Hahn could be outstanding teachers, if they dedicated themselves to it. 

But if they happen to go on 2-3 month long concert tours and their students never see them, then they wouldn't be very good teachers. 

Perhaps the internet will change this in the future.


Perhaps other performers who have sacrificed some of the finer points of musicianship in order to achieve their goals of producing a sound large enough to sound huge in a 2500 seat hall may not make the best teachers.  Especially considering that most students are not destined for solo careers, and would be lucky to play chamber music professionally or win an orchestral position.

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I don't get the Strad and haven't read the article.  But I do feel that teaching and knowing how to teach are important, and that there are problems in that area everywhere.  It will also make a difference whether you are talking about teaching someone at the beginning level where all the foundations are laid, or polishing someone in interpretation and such at the end stages.

Take your person who performs and later can explain how he got there.  Will he also be able to teach a student how to hold a violin and the bow, how to approach a piece of music at a basic level, the elementary aspects of music such as note values, basic bow distribution?  Or will he expect to be using these things which are already there?

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