Re: To pat and others re: teaching intonation

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Posted by P.White on May 09, 1999 at 10:23:25:

In Reply to: To pat and others re: teaching intonation posted by frustrated on May 09, 1999 at 00:57:23:

Dear Frustrated,
Incidentally, you might want to become brave and let us know who you are! We are not a forbidding bunch here!!

I don't have any extraordinary advice for you at this time. However, I am reminded of something that happened with one of my high school students. I have a very ambitious and talented young student who knows for sure that music will be his life. He practices regularly and follows my suggestions wonderfully. But, I could never get him to keep his bow straight. He had an 'up and down' bow motion rather than a 'side to side' bow motion. Of course, I tried everything I knew to tell and show him but nothing worked. Then, last summer he went to a two-week chamber music festival and came back with the problem solved. I marvelled at this and asked him what the cello teacher did to solve his problem. He said the cello teacher simply WOULD NOT allow him to do the bowing incorrectly. Not a note would he let my student proceed forth with if the bow was being used improperly, and there was even a threat that there would be no lesson if the problem were not solved. IT WORKED!

I have never had to be really tough on someone, and I joked with this student that now I knew how to solve any of his problems! But sometimes a teacher who is not the regular teacher can just step in and work a miracle. Or, taking an unusually tough approach might just do the trick. You might try the "You will not play one out of tune note for me" approach, or you might have a master class and forewarn the clinician that the main issue is intonation.
~Pat White

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