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A Great Teacher

black walnut 25 Nov 04 - 11:08 AM
C-flat 25 Nov 04 - 08:27 PM
Gypsy 25 Nov 04 - 10:37 PM
alanabit 26 Nov 04 - 03:50 AM
katlaughing 26 Nov 04 - 06:21 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 26 Nov 04 - 08:42 PM
Pauline L 26 Nov 04 - 11:47 PM
LadyJean 27 Nov 04 - 01:37 AM
black walnut 29 Nov 04 - 08:08 AM
gigix 30 Nov 04 - 06:44 AM
black walnut 03 Apr 05 - 12:10 PM
GUEST,van lingle 03 Apr 05 - 12:49 PM
John Hardly 04 Apr 05 - 07:07 AM
Peter T. 04 Apr 05 - 12:25 PM
Vixen 04 Apr 05 - 12:39 PM
Peter T. 04 Apr 05 - 01:50 PM
open mike 05 Apr 05 - 02:02 AM
John Hardly 05 Apr 05 - 08:57 AM
cool hand Tom 05 Apr 05 - 12:57 PM
cool hand Tom 05 Apr 05 - 10:47 PM
Peter T. 06 Apr 05 - 10:08 PM
Peter T. 08 Oct 08 - 10:36 AM
wysiwyg 30 Oct 10 - 09:57 AM
Tim Leaning 31 Oct 10 - 08:13 AM
C-flat 31 Oct 10 - 08:47 AM
Rockhen 31 Oct 10 - 09:36 AM
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Subject: A Great Teacher
From: black walnut
Date: 25 Nov 04 - 11:08 AM

I just got home from a harp lesson with Sharlene Wallace. She is a GREAT Celtic harp teacher. She addressed not only the notes and the technique, but also the spiritual centre of my playing. There is such a genuine wholeness to the way she teaches, so that it's not just about a specific tune or accompaniment pattern or arm movement or fingering pattern or releasing tension in the shoulder....it's about musicianship. Sharlene's sense of humour, her ability to listen, and her way with metaphors - it really teaches you something much bigger than arpeggios, chords and melodies.

I'd love to hear about other great teachers.

~b.w.


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Subject: RE: A Great Teacher
From: C-flat
Date: 25 Nov 04 - 08:27 PM

I know many people who are qualified to teach but there are few who can really communicate and captivate their pupils.
Learning from a real teacher is a privelidge and a joy that leaves you with a life-long passion to emulate them and express yourself.
My young daughter has been receiving piano lessons from a truly exeptional lady whose love of music is completely infectious. Her enthusiasm and encouragement has ignited a spark, in a way I recognise happening to myself many years ago, albeit less structured, and wether or not my daughter achieves any great musical standards, her own love and passion for music will live with her throughout her life.
Three cheers for those with the gift to teach!!!!


C-flat.


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Subject: RE: A Great Teacher
From: Gypsy
Date: 25 Nov 04 - 10:37 PM

Linda Lowe Thompson, who i've never met face to face. Her books have taught me how to play hammered dulcimer, her letters and emails have given me wonderful advice. I call her my long distance teacher.


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Subject: RE: A Great Teacher
From: alanabit
Date: 26 Nov 04 - 03:50 AM

I had a smashing guitar teaacher called Mike Williams when I was at college. I improved more in those three years than at any time before or since. He was calm, quiet chap with a joy in making all types of music. He taught me to practise slowly and to believe in what I was doing. What a privelege to know him!


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Subject: RE: A Great Teacher
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Nov 04 - 06:21 PM

Thanks for sharing with us, b.w.

My first violin teacher was fantastic, I just didn't know it at the time. She was old...probably in her 50s! oh my and I was about 8...she laid such a solid foundation...I regret that I wasn't ever able to tell her, later, how much it meant to me.


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Subject: RE: A Great Teacher
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 26 Nov 04 - 08:42 PM

As referred to in other threads, Dave Van Ronk epitomized the qualities of a great teacher. In a way, it's funny that he did, because on one hand, he didn't really give the impression that he placed a lot of importance on it. It wasn't unusual to arrive for a lesson and find Dave rumpled and half awake, grousing like a suddenly awakened bear out of hibernation. But with Dave, "gruffness" was a garment he wore casually. One of his greatest qualities was that he wasn't interested in producing clones of himself. Despite having the greatest admiration for his guitar playing and material, he never once taught me one of the songs he did, and the only song I ever did that he sang was Whoa Back Buck, and I did my version more like a combination of Lonnie Donnegan and Buddy Holly, fingerpicked. Dave gave each student what they needed to try to realize their potential as an individual. He had a great sense of who the person was, rather than just seeing them as another student. He encouraged people to strike out on their own and really seemed to enjoy the fruits not only of his labor, but theirs.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: A Great Teacher
From: Pauline L
Date: 26 Nov 04 - 11:47 PM

It's good to read about what makes a teacher great. I'll try to incorporate your ideas into my own teaching.


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Subject: RE: A Great Teacher
From: LadyJean
Date: 27 Nov 04 - 01:37 AM

Sarah Hickman taught English at the Ellis School for Girls in the 60s and 70s. She taught me most of what I know about writing. She would take a section of a book and show you how the author had created an effect. I can still remember her copy of "Great Expectations", falling to bits, but carefully marked, so she could explain how Dickens made Magwich the convict frightening.
If I am a writer, and I am, after a fashion, it is because of Sarah Hickman.
She also taught Annie Dillard, author of "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek". Ms. Dillard didn't appreciate what she had. She is a genius. Geniuses aren't an appreciative group.
In the unlikely event that I reveive a Pulitzer Prize, as Ms Dillard did, I will thank Miss Hickman.


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Subject: RE: A Great Teacher
From: black walnut
Date: 29 Nov 04 - 08:08 AM

You're reminding me of a university prof. who taught Shakespeare. He had been an actor at the Stratford theatre, so he had ways of bringing the plays to life dramatic in the classroom, rather than having us simply read and discuss the plays as though they were books. He would ask us to visualize the scenes while we read, and we would have to decide what colour each character was wearing, and why. We would think about each character's movements on stage, especially thinking of those characters who were on stage but who had little or nothing to say. Why were they there? Why was each one important?

Because of that teacher, I got over my fear of Shakespeare, and I've been able to pass a bit of what I've learned over to my children. Ever since they were babies, we've taken them to the summer outdoor theatre in the park, and they don't think of Shakepeare as a second language - they really enjoy the plays and the whole experience of seeing them under the stars.

~b.w.


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Subject: RE: A Great Teacher
From: gigix
Date: 30 Nov 04 - 06:44 AM

Of many guitar teachers, one opened my mind. The man is Maurizio Angeletti. He uncovered for me a whole world of music, but what most precious he gave was the search of the emotional treasure in it. Never be contented to play 'exactly' a complicated ragtime arrangement. Technics were important, but - he used to quote Robbie Basho - first you ride, than you fly. Not unaccordingly with his vision, Maurizio ended up selling his guitars (and he had some fine ones), forgetting the three excellent vinyls of guitar music he had recorded, and starting a career as a renown kite constructor. I lost contact of him maybe 20 years ago, but I am told that now he lives in Cornwall - probably because he can get plenty of wind for his kites, there. If anyone chances to meet him or hear more precisely about him, I would appreciate to know.
Luigi


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Subject: RE: A Great Teacher
From: black walnut
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 12:10 PM

Any others before these wonderful memories melt away into the distance....?

~b.w.


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Subject: RE: A Great Teacher
From: GUEST,van lingle
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 12:49 PM

I imagine Pete Townsend would have also been a great "smashing guitar teacher" had he taken that route. :>)
My own great teacher was a golf pro, Steve Anderson, who gave me a series of 6 lessons about 7 or 8 years ago. He only showed me about one thing per lesson and I wondered if I was getting my money's worth at the time. Well as it turned out I've built a pretty decent swing and short game using the fundamentals he gave me which really enabled me to teach myself.vl


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Subject: RE: A Great Teacher
From: John Hardly
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 07:07 AM

I took a few lessons from a guy named Joel Mabus. In those few lessons he gave me a lifetime of things to work on.

1. He didn't waste any of my time on chat
2. He had teaching materials well thought out, readily availible and presented in logical, usable order.
3. He answered questions asked in appropriate detail -- in other words, he listened to the "why" of the question so that, when he answered, his focus was on what I wanted to know, not what he wanted to tell (he felt no need to impress).


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Subject: RE: A Great Teacher
From: Peter T.
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 12:25 PM

What is interesting, as someone who has been blessed with a number of good teachers, is that there is absolutely no consistency in what makes a good teacher -- some are strict, some are loose, some are flamboyant, some are quiet, some are focussed, some are all over the place. It is a puzzle to me. My suspicion is that the one thing they all had in common was that whatever their thing was it was the centre of their world, and it radiated energy out from that centre, like the sun. It was different for each of them, and probably for me, none of what any of them thought was the centre is mine, but the idea of having one thing that you centre on is something I have taken away from them (alas, not having ever had such a thing myself, maybe it is some kind of luck to get one, no matter who the teacher is -- but one can see what that kind of life is like).

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: A Great Teacher
From: Vixen
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 12:39 PM

It has been my privilege to have learned from some great teachers. As a teacher now myself, I try to take the best I got from them, and integrate it my own approach.

There are several things that never cease to amaze me about the teaching/learning process, however. Here they are:

First, one student's "great teacher" can be another student's "horrible experience". Personal chemistry, learning style, teaching style, and all kinds of unnameable intangibles influence the relationship between teacher and student. I've had students who think I'm wonderfully helpful, and others, in the same class, with the same syllabus, who found me impossibly demanding. I've had teachers I thought "great" while other students thought them "terrible"; conversely, I've had teachers I thought "horrible," while fellow students thought them "wonderful."

Second, personal relationships have to be carefully drawn. I've had teachers I hated, but whom I consider great because they caused me to see and appreciate things I hadn't seen or appreciated before. I've had teachers I enjoyed listening to, and liked a great deal, but from whom I learned very little.

Third, it can be sorely disappointing to meet up with "great" teachers from your past (not just your youth!), only to find out that outside of the teacher/student relationship they not only have "feet of clay" just like the rest of us, but that they are sometimes people you might consider second-rate characters under any other circumstance.

Just some more of life's little mysteries, fwiw.

V


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Subject: RE: A Great Teacher
From: Peter T.
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 01:50 PM

Worse than that, a great teacher can be a miserable human being -- there is ample testimony from all sides that Martin Heidegger was one of the great teachers of all time, but he was a disaster as a human being.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: A Great Teacher
From: open mike
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 02:02 AM

sometimes a great teacher also manages to be a good performer, too.
http://www.joelmabus.com/
and a singer and a songwriter and a contra dance musician...and....and..


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Subject: RE: A Great Teacher
From: John Hardly
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 08:57 AM

...and fiddler, and mandolin player, and the best clawhammer banjo player I've ever heard, and...and...


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Subject: RE: A Great Teacher
From: cool hand Tom
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 12:57 PM

I have some wonderfull memories of the guy who taught me the basics of 5 string banjo.I remember doing some odd jobs at a caravan site while on leave from the forces,i had recently bought a cheap 5 string banjo and having no teacher i was struggling through various books.One day i heard the sound of a banjo coming from the most dingy of caravans and wanted to investigate,so i asked a resident who it was.They told me of this hermit kind of chap who lived there alone and maybe if i took a couple of chickens round this would be a good start.So i armed myself with 2 live chickens and knocked on the door after a couple of moments waiting Ken answered and looked amazed at me there holding two live chickens and i offered them to him.He must have thought i was mad and muttered something about what the hell would he want with the chickens,and before i could say banjo the door was closed,not detered i tried again some days later with banjo in hand,after looking at me very suspiciously i got the word"come in" and there it all began.we became very close and he became the grandfather i never had and i become the grandson he never had.sometimes i played till i was was in pain and he would say"do you wanna be a banjo player or not".he would set me exercises and times to be there and if i was late it was no lessons for that day.Time progressed and we laughed and sang and i progressed.He had written songs and been on the local TV Ect.He had once been a great figure in the Lincolnshire folk clubs in the 1960s but ken had fallen on hard times and now lived alone in his caravan.Ken tell it how it was.I turned up with a flashy banjo that cost me some money and he just laughed and got out his old zither banjo and told me it aint the bloody banjo boy its the player.After 3 years i had noticed Kens decline and one day went to where he lived after being away in Africa.Sadly ken had died,it broke my heart but without him i would never be who i am today.So thanks Mr Kenneth Vincent Murphy for all that you taught me.I believe Maureen who used to run the lincoln folk club or maybe still does, knew Ken.But the laughs we used to have about me and the chickens remains deeply seated in my heart.

   Regards Tom.


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Subject: RE: A Great Teacher
From: cool hand Tom
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 10:47 PM

He hated computers too.SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.allways said i was wastin me life on them and that was before internet,but i reckon he would have loved mudcat.Wow what a character of importance in my life and allways will be,we used to drink sherry and mild and play are guts out singin.Goodnight spud murphy never forget ya,see you soon one day and i wont be bringing bloody chickens.

    Regards Thomas


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Subject: RE: A Great Teacher
From: Peter T.
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 10:08 PM

What a story, Tom.   yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: A Great Teacher
From: Peter T.
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 10:36 AM

Refreshed. I thought, after the Getaway, that the theme of "What I Have Learned from Great Teachers" would make a good workshop for someone, somewhere.

Mick Lane said to me a couple of days ago about Rick Fielding: "He didn't care how talented you were, but what your talents were that he could help you express." I think that is right. It reminded me that one of the characteristic reasons why one is attracted to a great teacher (and here I will say something that RF would have hated) is that he or she reminds us of all the talents and possibilities that remain hidden in the world because no one has shined unconditional love on them. Moments of unconditional love (which does not mean not kicking your ass around when needed) are what makes great teachers.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: A Great Teacher
From: wysiwyg
Date: 30 Oct 10 - 09:57 AM

What is interesting, as someone who has been blessed with a number of good teachers, is that there is absolutely no consistency in what makes a good teacher -- some are strict, some are loose, some are flamboyant, some are quiet, some are focussed, some are all over the place.

I was thinking about something like that as I closed a children's world civ book this AM awash in memories of Mr. Fleming. I'm picking up some stuff now that touches on old disconnetions.

Mr. Fleming. Well.... Take Al Franken, put him on Silly Putty, and and stretch him taller and skinnier. Then make him older, pull his belt up high on his upper waist like older guys did back then, and give him foamy, denture-bond saliva. Then turn that image loose on cultural diffusion, picture him bounding across maps in front of the class, and you've got my HS freshman-year History of World Civ class.

HS was a maze of colliding insanities for me, with a few good friends and a very few helpful adults for seasoning. I retain only a fraction of most of my schooling, in fact, due to chaotic moves/family from infancy on up to HS. But I can recall, with very little reminding, the whole magilla of Mr. Fleming's class. I can still see the way handsome, early-puberty Jon, the basketball player, lounged his 6'4" frame from the too-small desk and across the aisles... legs SO long, but relaxed. Mr. Fleming just gave him a back seat so we didn't trip over him, and let Jon deal with the embarrassment of unanticipated hard-ons, as we focused on the maps, from back there. Mr. Fleming loved his subject so passionately that he could (I'm looking back now from my adult view) teach it each year as if he had just discovered it. And had been doing so for years, quite sincerely.

Another teacher I recall from HS was Mrs. Green. Small, sedate, quietly self-contained, terribly correct in her daily dress, reserved and formal in affect-- and wafting a discreet but intoxicating perfume. Stability, welcome, a love of grammar (English teacher). I believe it was she who, one day at her desk grading papers as we read, who forgot where she was-- and lit up a cigarette. From Mrs. Green's class I retain "Portrait of Jennie," whose chaotic way of growing up so perfectly suited me. I still cry when I smell that perfume on another woman, in gratitude for Mrs. Green. I can't quite got ahold of the cig memory-- how she discovered the cigarette error. I might have been the one who told her. Wastebaskets were metal back then, fortunately; I do recall THAT part and the discreet little giggle she could not suppress as she ground out that butt.

Mr. Mills, HS drama. A good listener who warned me not to ask the school guidance counselor for too much help because it would tag me in my records forever as a mental case not to be trusted. He was wrong. And he was right. I didn't know then that the counselor's main job was to match us up with kollidges. Mostly I remember his gentle southern accent and his hair pomade. He was handsome, too. I learned much later that some of the girls had had "private" time with him.... but I never felt the least threat from him, so if they did, I am sure it was OK with them! It was the late 60's! Who cares! Everybody was doing it! :~)


Mr. Costello. Jr. High science. Mr C did not give a rat's ass for tests, but he had to be abe to say we took 'em. He would usually stalk up and down the aisles of the classroom, whispering answers to the kids who needed them to get sufficient grades to feel good about coming to class. Mr C was all about actually playing with chemicals and bunsen burners, and letting these do the "real" teaching. But of course he taught so much about loving people and LIFE. In his room I always knew exactly where I was, who I was, and what was happening. But I have NO idea now what else happened in that school, or if that was the same place I had Mr. Lombardo. Or maybe Mr C was before Jr. High. Whatever!

Mr. Lombardo, maybe another Jr. High? A crazed, full-blooded Italian immigrant who was supposed to be in Opera but came here and then didn't make it into Opera. An artiste. OMG could he get us excited about music. But he could also be quite abusive, if you did not know your pitch. He regularly shamed young girls and boys at the blackboard with castigating rants. Oh well, I forgave him, because I too was wired for music. And I always wore my favorite red corduroy jumper with the chunky front zipper up the front-- and checkered tights, so mod!-- on Music Class days, because I felt so good in that dress I didn't really care as much about the yelling. But to this day I have trouble keeping a sense of self, among ranters. I should work on that, now that I see where it connects for me.

Thanks, Teachers.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: A Great Teacher
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 31 Oct 10 - 08:13 AM

Mr Dick Appleton of Grimsby,Lincolnshire,over here in the good old    U of K.
Most excellent and professional teacher of guitar among other things..
I think his love of playing rubs of on the students..
One of my life heroes.


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Subject: RE: A Great Teacher
From: C-flat
Date: 31 Oct 10 - 08:47 AM

7 years after my post to this thread and I can report that the most excellent piano teacher,I spoke of then, retired within a year and my daughter went to another, highly recommended teacher, who single-handedly drove every last crumb of passion for the piano out of my daughter.
This particular teacher had a talent for high-lighting the monotony of scales, failure to inspire and to completely discourage experimentation.
Thankfully my daughter has not lost her passion for music, she played cello for a while and now concentrates on guitar and has a really good "ear".
Now,I've always taken pride in my own good "ear", so I know one when I see/hear it (?) and hers is excellent! So it's even more of a puzzle that someone can spend a lifetime playing and teaching and just not care what impact their negative attitude is having on someone who showed real potential!
In essence,teachers should only be great. Any other sort should be banned from going near children!
C-flat


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Subject: RE: A Great Teacher
From: Rockhen
Date: 31 Oct 10 - 09:36 AM

Sad to hear that your daughter has lost her passion for the piano. I hope that her love of music allows her to rediscover the wonders of music on the piano as well as the other instruments she is learning. It is a great shame that some teachers forget that the development of knowledge and technical skill within their pupils is not much use without them feeling able to have 'fun' and actually enjoy what they are learning...
I know some very technically able teachers who teach in a very negative way and it horrifies me. If you are truly passionate about the music you are teaching, you will want others to share that wonderful feeling by enabling them to find ways of succeeding and enjoying music, in their own individual way, rather than showing off your own skills to make yourself feel good. That is not teaching in my view.


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