- Playing & Teaching
- Issue archive
- More navigation items
The Cincinnati-based teacher compares learning a piece of music with an actor preparing a role
What is the first thing you do with a new student?
I listen to them play a whole movement of a piece and try to analyse what their strengths are and which areas need to develop. I look mainly at their rhythm, sound, intonation and musical ideas. I’ll decide which one needs most work and give them a way to practise. It takes a few weeks to get to know someone.
How do you structure their development?
When they’re new I make sure I go through the technical language so that it all gets covered, and then my assistants do the technical work. We create a practice schedule that includes an hour of basics and scales. The second hour is etudes, caprices or technically difficult pieces. The rest of their practice time – two to three hours – is spent on repertoire. I plan that carefully. If they are entering competitions we build in performances at school and in retirement homes.
Already subscribed? Please sign in
We’re delighted that you are enjoying our website. For a limited period, you can try an online subscription to The Strad completely free of charge.