Teaching Students How To Think On Their Instruments

I always tell my students, “If all you ever get from me is how to think on your instrument, you will have gotten a lot”. This means a lot to me.

  1. Relating to the concept is the first step. Question it, “why do you have to do it?“. Don’t know? ASK! Not only should you want to know, YOU NEED TO RELATE!
  2. Do you understand the instructions and how to approach the concept? If you don’t, ASK?
  3. Do you understand the most practical way to practice it; that is, the most effective way to absorb and get fluent with it? No need to guess, just ASK!

From my point of view, there are three levels of successfully getting the lesson across:

  • I present the information in a way that the student can readily absorb/relate to it. This cannot be standardized. The approach has to be dictated by the students’ learning abilities.
  • I affirm that the student is truly understanding the lesson as it is being presented. Otherwise I take a run at it from another angle.
  • I drill the concept so that the student can take the concept home. Watching the wheels turn as a student tries to tackle a concept as presented, is my safety check with which I gauge if I am in fact getting through.

I take every aspect of my work VERY seriously, but I don’t take myself seriously for a second!

Bart Simpson: Yiddle, my man, you’re a genius.
Yiddle: I love my work.

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