Teaching

Sage Cole TeacherMy teaching is highly influenced by my study of Suzuki pedagogy. Shinichi Suzuki wove together crucial child development theory with high caliber violin technique; he was able to break down the skills of a concert artist into tiny, toddler-sized bites. The guiding principles of the Suzuki approach are extremely helpful in reinforcing the four major aspects of violin playing that I strive to develop in my students: good physical set-up, high expectations, optimal practice techniques, and a love of music.

It is one of my top priorities to have students achieve a beautiful sound right from the beginning of study. Tone quality is a direct result of physical set up and is one of the main reasons that I focus intently on proper posture and positioning with every student, from beginner through advanced. A solid, comfortable, healthy set-up that allows not only for depth of sound, but also technical mastery, and musical expression is essential. Learning how to hold the violin and bow properly is an on going process; as our bodies grow and change we have to adjust to the differences, both big and small, that can otherwise compromise our technique and health. My study of Alexander Technique and the Feldenkrais Method are a guide for me as I work with students to find their optimal set-up.

My early violin studies were at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School with Maria Benotti. Although I know that conservatory level study is not appropriate for all students, my own experience impressed on me the importance of expecting excellence at all levels of study. Enjoyment of music making increases along side ability; whether or not being a professional musician is the goal of study, it is always important to practice and perform to the best of current ability.

Teaching students how to practice to obtain the best results is another major focus of my teaching. Critical thinking and problem solving are crucial to successful violin practice as they are to most other endeavors in life. Fostering the development of such skills is an important part of weekly lessons.

Of course all of these skills only really come to fruition when matched with a love and understanding of music. I hope that my students come to the first lesson with the seeds of this passion, and I look forward to working with them to help their initial interest in music grow and blossom into a rewarding and powerful part of their lives.