Author: Emily Wright

Banishing the student-y sound

Here’s a wee presentation I did a few years back at a workshop. There’s no voiceover…although maybe at some point I’ll add it, if you think that would be useful. The single most important thing that contributes to artistry on the instrument is the idea that every note matters, and that nothing happens accidentally. I hope you enjoy it, and take it to heart. Oh, and since the thing advances slides every 5 seconds, you may need to pause every now and again to read the entire slide. 🙂  ...

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retrospect

There was a piece going around on Twitter a few weeks back- an acclaimed author had posted a thread about how much of his success was about luck and privilege, and that it’s completely possible to be good at what you do and work hard and still not come out a winner. It’s so refreshing to hear someone who is never going to have to worry about paying bills step down from what seems like a great height and acknowledge things like luck and advantage. Especially in the humanities, there’s a pervasive trope of the immaculate success; one that...

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an instructor’s code of conduct

It’s hard to narrow things down to ten main tenets, but I think these cover most of the important things. I’ve had overwhelmingly positive experiences with students- perhaps 1% had some degree of unpleasantry at some point, but because of the deeply personal nature of the work, it’s worth working hard to continually shave that number down ever more. I’ll admit, most of the bad behavior stemmed from my own weakness and desire to please people: I had not been clear or strong enough in my initial relationship building, and then things went south when I had been pushed...

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yay adult students!

I originally didn’t want to play the cello: as a young girl, I dreamed of the linear perfection of ballet- the wonderful music, the teamwork, the possibility of being sent far, far away to an academy to train hard and become something great and wear giant scarves and leotards with low back cut outs and fall in love with my Russian tutor, eventually living between Europe and the US. It was an oddly specific fantasy. Ballet has so much in common with classical music. All the good stuff, but also an emphasis on starting young, clinging to old world...

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a student code of conduct

As teachers, we are charged with a wonderful but daunting task: to formulate a path, tailored for each student, to reach their goals. The reason it’s daunting is because most students will demonstrate a sincere desire to do one thing, but then develop habits and patterns of thinking that are in direct opposition to the very thing they want most. I say this as an instructor of several subjects and a student of many more. We all do this, in some way or another. It’s the human condition. The key is not letting the condition outweigh your humanity and...

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