Ask the Teacher - Laurence Lesser

lesser

The cello teacher explains that his ambition is to make his students think for themselves

What’s your strategy when you take on a new student?

It’s become a joke that in anyone’s first lesson I make the following statement: ‘My ambition is to get rid of you.’ They often look at me in bewilderment and ask, ‘You mean you don’t like me?’ I reply, ‘No, my job is to give you the tools so you can be independent and have a lifetime of learning, so let’s get started.’ When I’m teaching someone, there are two teachers in the room, and one is more important – the student. I’m going to see them an hour a week and they’re on their own for the rest of the time, so they need to know what to do.

How do you achieve this?

My teaching is a combination of giving information and asking key questions that elicit a thought process. I never give a student an annotated copy with my bowings in it – that is treating them like someone in kindergarten: ‘Here, just copy. Do this.’ I’m not interested in that kind of teaching.

Already subscribed? Please sign in

Subscribe to continue reading…

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.

  • Free 7-day trial

    Not sure about subscribing? Sign up now to read this article in full and you’ll also receive unlimited access to premium online content, including the digital edition and online archive for 7 days.

    No strings attached – we won’t ask for your card details

  • Subscribe - online subscriptions from £4.50/month

    No more paywalls. To enjoy the best in-depth features and analysis from The Strad’s latest and past issues, upgrade to a subscription now. You’ll also enjoy regular issues and special supplements* and access to an online archive of issues back to 2010.

 

* Issues and supplements are available as both print and digital editions. Online subscribers will only receive access to the digital versions.