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Studio Teachers Meeting, December 2014

“Motivation, Expectations and Success with our Students”

by Lorraine Combs

The meeting was held at the home of Lya Stern on December 11, 2014.

Present: Lya Stern, Grace Boeringer, Julianna Chitwood, Claudia Chudacoff, Lorraine Combs, Lynne Denig, Dorée Huneven, Cynthia Mauney, Jean Provine, Effie Shu.

The meeting began with a sumptuous offering of food for all those present. After we were done socializing, Lya began her presentation. Following is a brief summary of items she talked about. The Spring 2015 issue of Stringendo will feature a detailed article on this topic.

• Expectations: our standards are often too low. Ask for more from your students.
• Don’t be afraid to practice with your students. Teach them what it’s like to practice, and show them what they should be doing at home.
• If you play well yourself, but are not sure how to teach students how to play well, be sure to take some training classes.
• Expect and demand that your students practice well and thoroughly. Teach your students to analyze their own playing. Always build on something solid. If a student’s foundation is shaky, there is nothing to build on.
• Perfect technique is always the basis of playing musically. Challenge your students to continue to get better, and most of them will.
• The more that parents are involved, the better the students achieve their goals. Lya tells all her prospective students that at least one parent must always be present at every lesson.
• When doing remedial work with a student: Choose one problem at a time. Pick out an appropriate easy piece or easy étude and explain to the student and the parent why you are doing this, and be sure they understand. If things are not going the way you want, be sure to communicate this in a nice way, so progress can happen.
• Lya likes to start double stops early in the student’s development. Also three-octave scales.
• Lya said that in her 22 years of private teaching, she has never had a student who could not memorize their pieces.
• Always try to make each new piece a little more challenging than each previous one. It shouldn’t take more than 3 months to learn a piece. (Remember, the underlying technique must already be in place.)
• Motivators: ASTACAP, studio recitals, youth orchestras.

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