Friday, July 3, 2009

Hans Neumann, an exceptionally thoughtful teacher, remarked that the trouble with teaching children is that eventually they have to repudiate your work with them. I took this as a challenge: Why not develop a way of teaching children that they would not want to outgrow? Why not teach them from the outset that the real power of music is within them?

It takes a long time to test the results of such pedagogy. But the proof that it works is that several of my once-child students still return for musical refreshment, now on an entirely mutual footing.

As it turns out that this experiment resembles the cutting edge of what some music theorists are concerned with, namely the relation of body to mind in dealing with music. The difference is that my work was never theoretical, but was always based on the innate musicality of each individual child.

Hans von Bulow is quoted as saying that technical exercises should be assigned the way toxic medicine is given out--in carefully controlled dosages. Every body, every hand, is unique. The synthesis between body and mind is the precious possession of each of us and the work of a lifetime. It must not, cannot be regimented.