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Okay, I know that once I start writing this, my writing is just going to turn into a giant rambling, but oh well....glad you guys care to listen.

Yesturday, a friend e-mailed me and told me that they know of somebody that would like fiddle lessons, and not violin lessons. I know no information about the student (ie., whether he plays already or not, how old he/she is, etc...)

But, my friend gave me the information to get a hold of this person if I was interested in giving them fiddle lessons.

I would love to pass on the tradition of fiddling, but these things constraint me:

1. I don't know if I would have the patience to teach somebody.

2. I don't know if I have the knowledge enough for it. (I have been playing 8 years---classically trained---fiddler by heart & blood)

3. I am only 15.

So I ask myself over and over---Should I? ---Shouldn't I? And, I am leaning more to the 'Shouldn't I?'

I don't know!!!! I'm all mixed up!!!!


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give it a shot, Journey. real teaching is definitely a combination of gift and learned skill, but who knows, maybe it's in you and not discovered yet. if not, sharing what you have is always a good thing. sounds like a win-win situation. music is for giving away. smile.gif

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You are sensitive and articulate. I'm sure you will be good at it!

(After each lesson, you will see what the problems are, and must work out how to explain them and what to explain in the next lesson. It is a big learning proccess for the teacher, I think).


[This message has been edited by staylor (edited 04-11-2001).]

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I don't want to be an old party pooper here, but this issue has come up from a few people now and each time it does I feel like the years (and money) that some of us have put into studying education theory, educational psychology, and technique teaching methods in addition to the whole music side of things in order to become the best teachers we can be is being downgraded.

I am sure that Journey is a very sensible and sensitive person and that she would never do anything to deliberately harm anyone or set them on the wrong path.

However, I am also aware of the numbers of students who develop problems with either their technique or their physique as a result of having been taught by people who are well-meaning but have limited understanding of what they are teaching and why. Some of the people posting here have even mentioned the difficulties they have had overcoming problems with technique which developed with early teachers. We all know there can be a big difference between being able to do something and being able to teach it.

This is not a personal attack, Journey - I wish you all the best with your plans and I hope it goes well for you. It's just some reflections on an issue that's been bugging me a bit for a while now.

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Interesting. So you are speaking from the perspective of a proffessional violin teacher?

Are you saying also that even a great player isn't automatically qualified to teach? Or that getting someone up on his/her feet (with violin playing) can be worse than nothing?

[This message has been edited by staylor (edited 04-12-2001).]

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There's an old (American?) saw that goes, "those who can, do; those who can't, teach." If you have any experience at all with teaching, you know that statement is a lie, not because it assumes that teachers are incompetent at what they teach, but because it assumes that teaching is not itself a form of "doing." Understanding a skill in such a way that allows you to explain it to somebody else is very different from understanding it well enough to do it yourself, and understanding *how* to explain it is something else entirely.

Having said that, Journey, if there's a 15-year-old on this board who I think would make a good teacher, it's you. Before you do it, though, you might want to look at what--and how--other teachers teach, just to get a sense of how different teachers sequence their material and get it across to students. There are a lot of books on elementary string pedagogy. My favorite one is out of print, but you can get it via interlibrary loan at your local public library: it's by Paul Rolland, and it's called _The Teaching of Action in String Playing_. I read it a few months ago and found it incredibly helpful. Then you might want to get a copy of Fischer's _Basics_, which has really good exercises and drills in it for players of all levels. And depending on how your student feels about reading music, you could start him or her out on something like the Doflein method and / or one of the many Irish and Scottish primers. Or if your student really doesn't want to learn how to read music, you can try teaching him by ear. Just be flexible, and most of all be observant.

Good luck with whatever you choose.


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I am learning (or re-learning, since I started out teaching myself) fiddling by a 14-year old. She has classical training but loves fiddling and she plays with a Scottish Fiddle group. I appreciate her patience and flexibility. She has helped me incredibly. She also tutors some of the younger violinists at her school. However, it is true that not everyone is a teacher. It is just a matter of which skills you enjoy using. Beyond music, you have to be a "people" person.

Good luck, Naomi

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What I find funniest is that my technique was messed up by a proffesional teacher who had "

studying education theory, educational psychology, and technique teaching methods in

addition to the whole music side of things in order to become the best teachers we can be". That teacher had a masters degree in violin education, and yet I have learned infinitely more from my new Russian teacher, who is an excellent performer, but probably spent less time on studying the "psychology" of teaching, which, if I may say so, is utter tripe. It seems that none of the best violinists have studied under teachers who have an agreeable psychology of teaching, in fact, most of these teachers have a psychology quite different from the stereotypical music education people. Perhaps this psychology does work best for the masses, but is violin teaching about the masses? Also don't take this improperly, I don't mean to look down on studying violin education, I simply think it is over rated.

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