My role as a teacher is to guide and encourage. The study of music requires patience, commitment and of course, the right technique.
The student needs to learn the art of efficient practice. This takes time but the principles are simple and can be applied to all learning. If you repeat a mistake a thousand times all you have at the end of your labour is an ingrained mistake; if you repeat something correctly, even just a few times at a quarter the desired speed, you have a strong foundation on which to build. Music making requires a very focused attention. This is developed by a careful approach at all times, avoiding sloppiness and half-heartedness. Sometimes a student might be simply too tired to tackle a difficult passage. It is important to have a certain flexibility in this case. In such instances some short scale practice or simple sight reading might be a better use of the time.
The wellbeing of the whole student is very important to me. I never want music making to be the source of anxiety or the occasion for my students to feel bad about themselves. Musical mastery is not simply a foregone conclusion for an elite few, and an impossible dream for everyone else. Yes, natural ability is a big factor but this can be overemphasised; used as an excuse. Great musicians are made, not born. The desire and drive to learn is the single most important factor. This must be coupled with humility to take instruction, solid technique and perseverance over a long number of years. The result will be a gift that brings joy to many, a gift that lightens hearts and brightens the world.