Posted by js on December 31, 2001 at 12:02:58:
In Reply to: Re: Re: Education: Who Needs It? posted by Jay Bertolet on December 30, 2001 at 20:44:37:
This will be the second time that I've posted this "sort-of" quote in a twenty-four hour period (and neither quote is word-for-word):
"There are two types of extraordinary performers:
- Those WITH amazing talent who work very hard
- Those who DON'T have amazing talent and work very hard."
I haven't come across a successful "natural" player who didn't work very VERY hard. Hard work and achievement (again, usually combined with good communication skills) can almost always qualify someone to guide someone else through their hard work, regardless of how "direct" was the path of the teacher's success. A friend of mine since age 12 (tuba player) is one that most would call a "natural". Very soon after his first day in beginner band, he got an acceptable sound on his instrument. He consistently placed first in the state (at that time "wide open" competition - grades 7-12) with a fiberglass sousaphone beginning in his eighth grade year. He NEVER HAD PRIVATE INSTRUCTION on the tuba UNTIL he went to the military musicians' School of Music after he was accepted by audition. This is why he might be classified as a "natural" player. HOWEVER, since his birth he went to the type of CHURCH where there was a LOT of unaccompanied congregational part-singing of hymns. I have found that people from this type of background often end up being the "natural" (actually not "natural", but rather "already well experienced in music") players. My friend practically walked out of high school into the D.C. Army Band - and right in the middle of the Vietnam War when EVERYBODY who was draftable wanted into ANY military band (even if they were already members of orchestras). Another school mate of mine who was a trombonist followed this same pattern almost to the letter.
The point is that my friend was indeed a marvelous and a "natural" player as a student, BUT HE TOOK HIS CONN 36K SOUSAPHONE HOME EVERY DAY (a three mile walk or bike ride) AND PRACTICED FOR 3-4 HOURS EVERY EVENING SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.
As "easy" (again, with a 20-30 hour per week practice regimen) as things came for my friend, I think he could teach a student with serious problems.
I'm not sure that "natural" is a disqualification for being a great teacher. My friend (as a 15-year-old kid) was in reality my first (and perhaps most important) teacher.
My final point would be that MANY (ahem) "serious" students today DO NOT PRACTICE with enough time, analysis, and efficiency to work out their problems, as many young students today are accustomed to "pointing-and-clicking" (or at the worst "re-booting") to solve their most "difficult" problems. Many problems can only be commented on, analyzed, and demonstrated otherwise in the studio but must be SOLVED in the lonely practice room.
Joe "who doesn't really disagree with you as much as I made it appear" S.