Mike Lawson • Archives • March 1, 2003

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One of the more difficult musical instruments to play is the violin. I will present in this article ways to help fine-tune basic remedial problems in violin techniques. Remedial teaching is an extremely difficult form of teaching, and it can be terribly hard on both teacher and student.

When a student has remedial problems, one should not discourage him or her by saying that everything is wrong, and that they must start from the very beginning. I believe that this is a devastating remark and one which I would never use. It is far better to say, “You have some problems and we are going to correct them one by one.” As Carl Flesch says, “Progress in a large measure depends on eradication of one’s faults rather than the constant learning of new materials.”

Naturally, the remedial teacher is anxious for the student to show rapid progress to correct the faults that brought him to the teacher in the first place. However, many times this anxiety results in wasting time changing or trying to change some of the student’s abilities to fit the teacher’s particular mannerisms or characteristics, which may often be of an unusual or unique physical nature. This should be avoided at all costs. If a student comes to a teacher for specific remedial teaching and this student possesses a good bow arm, or a good left hand, or a good stance, for heaven’s sake leave the assets alone and be grateful to his or her earlier teacher.

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