My teaching is based around the idea that everything a pupil is taught must be practical, whether they’re learning to play their favourite song, analysing a harmonic progression or learning a scale. The learning process (and by extension practice methods) are, to me, more important than the end result, because if the process is right, good results assure themselves. This approach, combined with the freedom to explore the many inherent possibilities contained within any music, allows my pupils to develop and drive their own learning as individuals.
Alongside this freedom for musical interpretation, I also put a strong emphasis on technique (i.e. the movements required to generate the sounds we want). The ability to play effortlessly and with expression is something that is available to anyone willing to look at how their current movement habits affect their playing. This awareness of one’s self is also great for preventing performance injuries – any potentially damaging movements can be easily noticed and modified.
I also like to develop my pupils’ knowledge of musical theory in practical situations, thus I encourage improvisation and composition. A strong knowledge of music theory allows musicians to communicate fluently with each other.
I feel that any teacher should be constantly improving their own capabilities. As such, I spend a lot of time educating myself. Developing as a musician is a big part of this, but I’m always looking for ways to communicate more clearly; exploring methods to show pupils how to move easily and efficiently to produce the sound they want; and researching learning strategies.