Think of the most impressive teaching you received. A vivid impression was made which you remember to this today. That's the goal, a precise, well-planned strategy of instruction and inspiration.
Here are a few memorable moments from my teachers which made a lasting impression on me:
- "Don't play like a student!"
- "You could be a little more laid back."
- "Your notes must speak just like that!" (at the snap of the fingers).
- "In the orchestra you have to be able to play so (expletive) loud."
- The Zarathustra octave calls were so shocking I could almost see the notes flying straight into the audience.
- With only a gesture, the conductor communicated exactly what he wanted without ever speaking a word. (The best conductors spoke very little English.)
- Without saying a thing, he picked up my horn and fixed my cracking F natural by blasting that note into its place. He then returned my horn, satisfied that the problem had been permanently solved. It worked like a charm!
- "Rhythm is relentless!" as he repeatedly pounded his hand onto the desk.
- I thought my Pictures Promenade was really good. Then came that memorable comment from the committee: "Very good. Now play it in tune."
Great teaching can happen quickly, as can great learning. Keep a journal of what inspired you. You'll need it for yourself and for your students. Brevity and brilliance work wonders.