Teaching and Practice Philosophy
Teaching Goals: My primary goal is to give students the technical and musical foundation they need to make violin playing rewarding and enjoyable. For students who wish to play competitively, we cover the major violin concerti, sonatas, etudes, and orchestral excerpts to prepare for auditions and competitions.
Teaching Style: I strive to create a positive, non-judgmental atmosphere in the studio. I have the greatest respect for a student’s talents, musical and otherwise. I choose not to browbeat children into practicing or to scold them if they do not “get” something at a lesson. For this reason, students who do well with me are highly self-motivated. If a child needs a teacher who is stern and critical in order to be motivated to practice, then I am not the right teacher for that student. I am happy to offer suggestions on how to deal with practice issues at home. Because I have a long waitlist, however, students who are not committed to regular practice or who appear uninterested at lessons will be asked to find another teacher.
While I am not heavy-handed in my approach to teaching, I am exacting in what I demand of students in terms of left hand and bow technique, intonation and rhythmic accuracy, as well as putting a piece together musically. This is true for students who are learning violin for fun as well as those who are working toward more competitive playing. Students who succeed in my studio are willing and able to do careful detail work in order to achieve excellence in their playing.
Practice Expectations: I require students to practice every day. How much time they spend practicing is up to them, as long as they play all of the assigned material thoughtfully and practice the specific passages or pieces the way and the number of times I ask them to. This kind of deliberate practice is infinitely more important than clocking time.
Performance Opportunities: The studio holds a spring recital at Casa de Flores in San Carlos every year. Middle and high school students may also perform at the CMEA Solo and Small Ensemble Festival, usually held in San Francisco or San Jose in March. In addition, students can prepare for the Royal School of Music performance and theory exams. Students who pass the exams at a given level receive certification and advance to the next grade.
The Chinese Music Teachers’ Association of Northern California hosts a music competition in May. Several youth orchestras in the area (Peninsula Youth Orchestra, the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra, the California Youth Symphony) also hold concerto competitions, usually in December or January. I encourage students to enter competitions with the goal of gaining invaluable performance experience; not winning.
Changing Teachers: There are many violinists in the San Francisco-Bay Area, who represent a variety of schools of violin playing and teaching. When changing teachers at any stage in a studentís development, it is important to find violinists who excel at teaching and whose teaching style and method are a good fit for the child. If you are considering moving your child out of the studio to study with another teacher, please let me know in advance. This way I can offer the lesson slot to students on my waitlist in a timely manner.