Pedagogical Woes

usic is a secular language, right? Everyone understands it, even the person who just listens to it as background noise on their way to work. You don’t have to have multiple degrees in music to understand the emotional and inspirational power it can bring – and that goes across many genres and mediums.

But, as a musician (with multiple degrees and working on my third one), I was taught that chamber music is the essence and beauty of what we do. Speaking of the instrumental genre, mind you. I learned, fortunately, from a very ripe young age that playing chamber music teaches you how to be a musician. Sure, large ensembles help, orchestra helps…but understanding the nuisance of your instrument and instruments around you can only come, I think, in that intimate and personal setting.

That being said, isn’t it understood that before you go to a rehearsal you prepare your part on your own? You do the necessary study and learn the difficult rhythms so that rehearsals are focused around making music and blending.

But when this isn’t happening, when we aren’t working as a group, and the teacher/coach notices these faults shouldn’t they teach us how to fix it? To show use how to rehearse instead of just demanding results? I mean, yes, there is definitely a certain degree of responsibility of each musician in the group, but when their is a fundamental lack of understanding – wouldn’t you address that?

I struggle with this pedagogical theory among many collegiate faculty members from ALL the universities I’ve attended. As growing musicians, we thrive off of the knowledge from our mentors and teachers – we don’t want someone BEATING  a stick at us and screaming at us when it’s wrong. Tell us WHY it’s wrong, tell me WHY it’s out of tune…don’t just tell a wind section that their pitch is unreliable – show them why it’s unreliable, show us who to tune to, show the younger students the tool they need to succeed not be brats on stage. My favorite line, “Professional musicians wouldn’t come in here and play like this.” But, many of us are ASPIRING professional musicians and many of us don’t have the TOOLS necessary to be at that level yet – but still you demand, with an iron fist, that many of us perform at the same level?

Teach me! I want to learn EVERYTHING from you! Teach me please!!!!!

Such is life.

End rant.

Back to some score study.

Enjoy your memorial day, the weather is absolutely GORGEOUS out today!

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