In the previous part of this blog series on teacher-made solutions to common string student obstacles, there were four books featured that are very useful for helping students feel motivated to practice well. In this part, two different kinds of books are presented which can help students who feel overwhelmed by a mental or physical barrier to their playing.
The ability to explain complex and difficult concepts in a way that can be clearly understood and successfully acted on is the hallmark of great teaching. Combined with motivation, student success is assured!
Every teaching method has its merits, whether it’s Suzuki, O’Connor, Sassmannshaus, Essential Elements, Maia Bang, ABC’s, All for Strings, Whistler, or others. As a teacher, you know that regardless of what teaching method you employ, without a teacher guiding the student, the student is not likely to succeed. And because each student is unique, only the teacher is able to determine if supplemental materials may be required, to focus on specific areas of need.
Some people are difficult to shop for, and some are near impossible. If you're lucky, the person has an interest or a hobby that you'd love to support by gifting them something related. The only problem is that you might not be sure what that something is, whether or not they need one, or if you're totally off! When it comes to advancing string players like highschool or college students, there are some gifts that might sound like a great idea, but could essentially be useless to the person if they are already particular about brands, sizes, styles, or difficulty levels. If you are having a hard time thinking of what to get for an advancing string student who has been playing for several years, then this guide should help you to know what is a safe bet, and what you might want to leave alone! Keep in mind that I don't know the person you're shopping for, and these are just general guidelines. Average price range accompanies the recommendations for reference. As long as you're giving from the heart, I'm sure they will enjoy whatever it is you find for them!
We live in a fast-paced society these days. Gone are the days where children would play outside until being called in for dinnertime. Few people make elaborate dinners each day from scratch, complete with a homemade dessert. We’re all a little overscheduled and harried, it seems.
The reality of our modern society is that smartphones and tablets are the go-to solutions for our overscheduled lives. Anything that makes your life just a little bit easier is sure to be a big hit these days. Remember when the pre-washed, bagged salad first hit the market? Nobody was sure if it would take off or not, because it’s pretty simple to buy lettuce and wash it, but it turns out that a lot of people liked the convenience. Or when the Keurig coffee makers hit the market? Who would forgo a traditional coffee maker for one of these expensive gadgets, we wondered? Turns out a lot of people found it too be too cumbersome to fix coffee in a traditional coffee pot, and appreciated the no cleanup, quick convenience of the K-cups. Now you can buy them everywhere. I think it’s because we’re all just trying to claim a little bit more sanity every day in our fast-paced world. Anything to not have to take an extra step, clean up an extra mess, or remember one extra thing.
Music is an artificial creation. Often described as the highest form of art, it has nothing close to a natural existence but for the songs of birds and the movement of the planets. Its structure, elements, and substance are all born from human creativity. Every time music takes place, it is a new expression of centuries of influence being funneled through, and reconstructed by, an artist or collaborative group of artists. Only in the past century or so has the audio recording of music played a role in its propagation. Without audio recording, its only media for survival is an individual’s memory and written notation – the latter being the ultimate form for most works beyond traditional folk music. Without notation, great works of sufficient complexity simply couldn’t exist outside of the composer’s mind. However, the ability to write music by hand is going extinct as a pedagogical tool, and with it, the creative voice of each passing generation of musicians.