Re: To pat and others re: teaching intonation

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Posted by S.W. on May 10, 1999 at 04:30:25:

In Reply to: Re: To pat and others re: teaching intonation posted by P.White on May 09, 1999 at 10:23:25:

I had a teacher who used what you may call the "get tough" approach. He was very methodical in his teaching and generally isolated one major problem at a time. For a week or two that problem would be the main focus of my etudes and practicing. That approach work well and usually I was able to make reasonable progress in fixing the problem. However with a couple of things I had more trouble. One was with cracking notes (I'm a wind player). I vividly remember a lesson where I was stopped EVERY time a cracked note. Not a happy lesson. I never came back to a lesson cracking a note again (only rarely). His approach worked. I think sometimes demanding results like that works bcause it helps to quickly force awareness on the part of the student. When I was much younger I had a teacher who held his hand very low above my fingers to keep me from raising my fingers up so high. A couple of lessons like that were enough for me and I fixed it.

: 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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