From Itzhak Perlman to Rachel Barton Pine: Why Students Need Music Heroes

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Who were your musical heroes growing up?

Mine was, hands down, Itzhak Perlman. The first time I saw him perform live was 1999, but I remember watching him at home often as a child. I watched him on Sesame Street (You can see one example here), in documentaries, and in recorded concerts on VHS tape.

I was totally entranced by his playing. It was my dream to be able to do what he was doing.

When I was six years old I came home upset from group class one day. Another student had teased me my facial expressions while playing.

I vividly remember my dad sitting me down in front of a video of Perlman playing. He told me “if he can make faces while playing, so can you!” I have never felt bad about my overly expressive face again. Add my dad to my list of musical heroes!

Music Heroes

Perlman was my model of a great violinist as a child. His playing was like a carrot on a string, dangling out there as something to work towards.

Listening to Suzuki recordings helped me learn my pieces and build my technique but listening to a great performer like this was a whole other level of inspiration.

One helped me learn my music; the other helped me learn the purpose for studying it in the first place.

Fast forward many years:

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My 2016 Favorites

I love looking back at the end of the year to reflect on what my year was like and how I want to approach the new year. I thought as part of that process this year I would share my favorite things of 2016 related to teaching. I hope you will share your your favorites in the comments.

Suzuki Experience – Written by Suzuki parent Alan Duncan, this is a great blog about Suzuki from the parent perspective. I find myself sharing posts from this blog with the parents in my studio all the time.

The Plucky Violin Teacher This blog is a fantastic resource for parents and teachers alike. Written by Suzuki violin teacher Brecklyn Ferrin this blog has great ideas and resources about teaching and practicing. I highly recommend it. Breckyn’s blog was one of the first Suzuki blogs I started following regularly and is a big inspiration to me.

Teach Suzuki is written by Suzuki teacher Paula Bird, who also created the Teach Suzuki Podcast which can be found HERE on itunes. I started reading Paula’s blog a number of years ago and have found great information on it about teaching, running my studio, and even making goals for the new year. I had the pleasure of meeting Paula in person this year as she visited Oregon which was very fun!

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