Success of young students, no matter the discipline, is built on a solid foundation. Information is distributed to the student in a classroom/private lesson format and then reinforced with continued study outside of that class or lesson. In the case of music, which presents a vast array of high-level concepts combined with an intense demand of complex and simultaneous micro-motor skills, the reinforcement stage at home is a critical component of student success.
The irony of this cold and analytical summation of tasks is that both environments for the student, lesson and home, should be nurturing and loving environments that affords the student, no matter the age or level, a certain respect and authority in making his or her own musical decisions. Creating a space of love and respect in the classroom and at home builds a solid framework for learning through the student’s willingness to please and take responsibility for his or her own progress. The amount of confidence that can be built in a young student with the correct balance of guidance, nurturing and respect cannot be overestimated.
These are principles that are at the core of our teaching philosophy at NWMA. As I progress through my pedagogical course with university students at UBC, I am constantly reminded of the great work being done throughout North America, Asia and Europe in the pursuit of pianistic excellence in young children. These burning torches of pedagogical enlightenment must be passed to young teachers so that potentials are recognized, nurtured and realized. As we embark on another teaching year, our teachers, myself included, should strive to maintain a focus on the foundations of nurturing, respect and guidance while creating an open communication loop with parents that the home environment, where the great majority of growth occurs in music proficiency, is also a harbor of those same great characteristics that make for good weekly music lessons.