When I went to the Intermountain Suzuki String Institute in June I needed to re-read Teaching From the Balance Point by Edward Kreitman for my class. I had read it before, but it meant so much more to me this time. In the first chapter he talks about priority teaching. This concept is not new to me, but I think I finally understand how to structure my lessons around this concept. When you teach the Suzuki Method a lot of times you can get caught up in the pieces. ” The faster you learn the pieces the better you are” is a mentality that students, parents, and sometimes teachers slip into.
What Kreitman pointed out was that if your posture is poor, or your tone is lacking, then it doesn’t matter how many difficult pieces you can play, your sound will be dreadful. It won’t matter how difficult the piece, if it doesn’t sound good, then what’s the point? I learned that I needed to ask myself the question, “what is your priority right now?” during every single lesson, every single piece, every single concept that I teach. My priority needs to be posture, then tone, and then all of the other things.
As I’ve been thinking about this concept I’ve tried to start asking it to myself in other situations. There are a few things in my life like my family, my God, and my relationships with other people that are my priority. If those things are lacking, then nothing else in my life is going to sound beautiful.