As a teacher, I believe the priority is to help my student realize who they are through making music. Every student is a unique and respected individual with different approach towards music. Therefore, in order to make the art form continue to flourish, I think it is necessary to construct music teaching methods that are based on each individual student’s psychological and personality characteristics. We must innovate in many ways in order to cultivate a student’s interest in music. Music is an abstract form of artistic expression. A good, tailored, and suitable teaching model benefits students by both helping the student to understand and think about the music, and to as well help them discover why music is meaningful to them.
I also extremely care about incorporating diversity in my class. In the past 8 years, I have taught over 35 master classes around the world, and I have worked with over 100 students ranging from age 10 to 30. Together with my student, I felt that not only they are learning from me, but I also learned from them. Among the works we have done, from Bach to Beethoven to Brahms to Ravel, I found every student have their own interpretation of the piece, and most of them are unique and brave. I also realized that their voices usually related with their personal life experiences. For example, a 10 years old child from Rwanda wouldn’t have the same life experience as a 25 years old student from the United States. In order to help them express their feeling towards music comfortably, I would learn their cultural background, their social value, their way of approaching music, and then utilizing the example based on their story to explain the challenge or problems of their performance. On the other hand, how to utilize and cooperate with their personal experiences also affected my thoughts of establishing my teaching model. Therefore, the diversity of student I have worked with also strongly influenced my approach towards how to teach and coach.
During my classes, instead of giving students my idea of how I would perform, I prefer to listen to their voice first, share what I found unique in their performance, discuss how to make it sound more convincing, help them to conquer the technical issues may occur, and eventually help them to interpret a piece more comfortably in their own way.
I think a proper teaching curriculum enhances the students' perceptual experience of music through rich teaching methods, and also stimulates the students' imagination and ability to think for themselves. In my opinion, the core purpose of music education is to cultivate the personality rather than the skill.
I believe that as a music educator, I am merely a carrier of the art of music. The means and methods of sharing music with others are the keys to determining what musical values to be passed to students. As long as we are teaching human beings, teaching music is about inspiring rather than implantation.