Author: Emily Wright

the bow

Originally published 18 June 2007. I’m still a bow-centric teacher. Maybe even more so now, even though there are lots of really insightful instructors whose philosophy centers intonation as the first goal. It’s not that I don’t think intonation is important. It’s just that producing a beautiful sound is much harder. Work on both, of course. But when you work on intonation, give the sound some love, too. It’s the tone, not the pitch, that makes us human. To me, the left hand is academic and the right hand is, though rigorously technical, laced with the perfume of mystery...

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practice makes perfect. if you survive.

Originally published 12 June 2007. Near the end of this piece, I talk about resisting change and looking down on a teacher I had in London because she wasn’t up to speed on the Rococo Variations. I am still struck by how common it is for students to feel a sense of competition with instructors, which blinds them to their own learning process: trying prove yourself is a full time job. I should know! I underwent a radical transformation during my time in the UK: pulling the first layer of ego away (of course, revealing many, many more underneath!)...

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it’s all in your mind

Originally posted 31 May 2007: These students are the foundation of my enduring interest in working with students with traumatic brain injury and other neuro-atypical learners. While the phrasing may be a tad jejune [cello is hard for everyone, some people just have a diagnosis as to their particular brand of difficulty], there is truth to it, borne out over the last 25 years of teaching experience. It tends to be the people who have not experienced much intellectual adversity who have the hardest time getting out of their own way. I teach 2 students who have memory issues....

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stark raving retrofit

Gah, remember that page? So many things have changed since the founding of this blog 12 years ago, including the way I think about playing, teaching, and learning. It’s actually a little painful to go back through some of the things I wrote back then, full of swagger and a desire to feel relevant and understood. I suppose it’s a better option than being impervious to arrogance and resistant to growth, but oh, these twinges of embarrassment are persistent as I revisit these ramblings. Why was I re-reading in the first place? I’ve had many people suggest that I...

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