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Pauline Lerner

Ode to a student

April 1, 2006 at 10:41 AM

My mood is very sensitive to my students’ progress. Once in a while, I wonder whether a student will ever “get it.” I work hard to figure out why he or she keeps making the same mistakes and try to come up with new explanations or approaches. Most of the time, I feel good while I’m teaching because the students are making progress. Sometimes a student has an “aha” moment, when they suddenly catch on. After that, they learn better and faster. Sometimes, they are so excited about it that they send me an email to let me know. They feel thrilled, and so do I. This week, I had a new and wonderful feeling. One of my students, who has been playing for about a year and a half, is very talented. She reached the “aha” point a few months ago, and she has taken off like a rocket. At her most recent lesson, she warmed up by playing a piece she has already learned, the Brahms Waltz in Suzuki Book 2. She played it so beautifully that she lifted me up and away. I could not be a teacher and listen for mistakes. I just closed my eyes, sat back, and loved the music.

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