|This article reviews some
points of view from the book by Dr. William Lovelock called "The Art
of Teaching as Applied to Music."
Areas covered in this review are in relation to the following areas: The Teacher, The Student, Technique, Lessons, Practice, Musicianship, Memorization plus some other generalities.
|... on the aim of the teacher|
|The Aim of the Teacher -
to train his pupils to teach themselves. Teachers should work on the principle
that telling shuts up the mind, questioning opens it. This really, is interpreting
the word "Education" in its true sense. "To educate"
is defined as "to develop, train, give intellectual training etc..."
it does not mean as some appear to think, merely to "push in"
a knowledge of facts. When one is forced to absorb a multitude of facts,
the majority of them pass completely from the mind as soon as the immediate
need for them has past. On the other hand, facts one discovers by themselves,
either by research, or by logical processes of thought, will be remembered.
However in some fields, it is to some extent impossible for students to educate themselves. For example in Technique, students mainly learn by imitation. Three often quoted principles of teaching are:
(a) Proceed from the known to the unknown
(b) Teach one thing at a time
(c) See that the student understands the nature of the fact being dealt with before showing him the written symbol for it.
The essential qualifications of the teacher may be briefly stated as:
(a) A thorough knowledge of the subject being taught
(g) The ability to impart knowledge
Referring to the last qualification, there are two absolute essentials in connection with the imparting of knowledge.
(a) The ability to bring oneself down to the pupils mental level, to see things through his eyes.
(b) The ability to make explanations in perfectly simple, clear, and intelligible language.
It is desirable that the teachers knowledge and interests should not be bounded by his own special subject. The more one knows of music in general, apart from ones specialty, the better musician one will become, and this is a point which should be fully realized by all students. Certainly the study of music, seriously undertaken, is apt to take up practically the whole of the students time, but even so, room should be found for some other interest, if not as a real study, at least as a hobby.
It may be said that the more one uses the brain, on matters that require real thought, the more greater one's mental ability develops; and the greater one's mental ability in general, the better musician one can become.
The value of one's studying subjects like Algebra and Geometry at school, may and often do prove to be of no actual use in later life, but Certain one to think logically and clearly, and to reason. In other words, mental ability is developed. Further more, interest in some nonmusical subject gives the brain relief from continual music. "A change is as good as a rest"
It is essential that the teacher keep up to date in his methods, and to study every new development in the teaching of his own particular branch of music.
The teaching repertoire should be continually expanded, revised and overhauled. There is always new material being published. Some good and some not so good. The teacher should constantly inspect new music and add what he feels appropriate and useful to his repertoire and at the same time disregard the less useful music which he has freely used.
The teach, therefore, should be continually examining and criticizing his teaching methods and repertoire, and striving in every way to improve and broaden both. The more self critical he is the better.
|It is also important that
practice be kept up. The teacher who wants to explain something should be
able also to demonstrate it. A prospective teacher should work hard during
student days, to become as accomplished a performer as possible. The higher
the technical standard attained, the longer this technique will last, even
with a little regular practice.
According to Hans von Bulow, there are three things a performer of any kind requires, the first is technique, the Second is Technique, THE THIRD IS TECHNIQUE!
It is a regrettable common fallacy that the study technique is not really essential, and that it can be, as it were, picked up from pieces. TO acquire technical ability of any sort it is essential to study the mechanical side, by itself, without other matters to distract the mind or to weaken the complete concentration on the one point being studied.
Technique implies not only mechanical facility and agility, but includes also control of tone in every kind of passage, and good interpretation. That is, really good interpretation is impossible, without adequate technique, and the latter must be studies as an individual branch of the subject. Technique should be taught from an early age.
Technique is mainly mental, that is; control of matter by mind. It may be said that there are two elements of technique, the physical and the mental, the latter being more important. Mere physical development cannot be acquired without intense mental concentration.
Regarding lessons, for the usual half hour lesson a normal timetable, with a normal student would be somewhat as follows:
Technical exercises, scales
etc... 5 minutes
|Unless the whole mind is
directed to the matter in hand, "practice" is valueless, in fact,
it ceases to practice in the real sense. Further such concentration must
be directed not only to 'doing' but also to 'listening'. The pupil must
be taught to realize that merely to 'try' to produce a certain effect is
not enough. He must listen, to know whether or not he succeeds.
The second essential of practice is regularity. Even if only the shortest amount of time can be spent on any given day, it should be made use of. The continuos and frequent renewal of "impressions' is most important. Ten minutes spent on a given point, three times a day, will result in quicker and safer mastery than an hour every other day.
During practice, no error, however small should be passed over, even if it seems to be merely a slip. A slip disregarded may quickly develop into a real mistake. Merely to correct a mistake and go on makes no impression on the mind,, it is the lead up to the troublesome point which is important. All mistakes should be taken in context.
Although facility in reading at sight is to some extend a matter of gift, it can nevertheless be cultivated to a considerable degree by assiduous and unremitting practice. The first requisite is obviously the most intense concentration, and the second is the ability to read ahead. The latter is achieved mainly by trying. In sigh treading the principle aim should be continuity, whatever errors may be made (note wise, the time and rhythm should be kept intact.) Sight reading should be practiced along with the other areas, eg: scales and technique.
|Memory, like sight reading is in many cases a matter of gift, but also like sight reading, it can be cultivated and improved. Poor memorization is often due to nervousness, the feat that the memory may fail. Such failure should never be contemplated. Confidence in the power of memory should be cultivated. Nothing is achieved without the will to achieve it. It is important that only small passages at a time should be attempted by memory.|
|Expression has been defined as "the power of conveying to the listener the emotions which the music has awakened in the performer. However true expression is not possible without Musical Intelligence. Musical Intelligence cannot be taught but can be acquired, by the study of Music in general. The more the student is able to hear, and the more he knows about music in general, the stronger becomes his musical background, and its by strengthening of this background that his Musical Intelligence is developed.|
The value of Musical Education
lies on the increased control of the physical apparatus by the mind, and
in the quickening of perception which is inevitable if study is properly
ordered and controlled. There is too actual physical development It all
helps to make the body a more highly developed and sensitive organism.
The study of music requires quick, clear, and logical thinking, and the
training and practice in this is, of course of the greatest possible value.