AST Journal / February 2015 /Inheriting, Losing and Rehabilitating Students

Inheriting, Losing and Rehabilitating Students

by Rictor Noren

All teachers gain and lose students to either natural attrition or mutually agreed upon terms. Students float in and out of our lives, and this is the course of things. Understanding the inherent fluidity that exists can keep teachers from taking the loss of a student personally. Students mature out of studios, which is to say they’ve achieved a skillset that exceeds the teacher’s ability. The teacher/student dynamic can change dramatically over the course of years. Expectations can shift, resulting in the student who feels increasingly less challenged. Welcoming a new student (or string teaching in general) should come with the gravity and the expectations of the Hippocratic Oath: first, do no harm.

In this Issue

When inheriting new students, there are ways to make the transaction healthy while retaining everyone’s dignity. You may feel as though the student’s previous teacher had no business teaching the violin (viola, cello, bass), but this is better left unuttered. Teacher-bashing never ends well. It won’t make you look more evolved or clever, but rather caddy and insecure. The world of string teaching is small, and what you say will come back to you in ways you can’t predict. To continue reading the article, please download the PDF.

Rictor Noren teaches the violin, viola and string pedagogy at the Boston Conservatory and the New England Conservatory Pre-college program. He also is an adjunct instructor at Harvard University and MIT. He writes for Psychology Today and lectures on the intersection of classical music and human functioning/ well-being. Noren’s first novel, “I, Carson: My Astonishingly Important Life,” has just been released.