Welcome to my blog! A few words about teaching and empathy

May 24, 2016

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Louise Bisgaard Vase

Dear visitor! This is the first blog on the Homepage of VaseMusik, and I am really pleased and happy that you take your time to read and reflect on my writings.

VaseMusik was created with the purpose to share my passion for music with you and give you the opportunity to listen to my music. But the landscape of music is wide and open, and it is very easy to disappear in the great ocean of sound. Thus, my intention is to keep my focus on my personal musical purpose in life; and for me, the combination of teaching and creating music is fascinating and challenging.

Then why is the teaching practice making so much sense for me? Teaching people in the art of playing and singing requires that you give your full attention to the activity. Since all humans are different, it is never possible to use a real routine in the teaching work. Like when you play a concert with a lot of improvisation! You have to be open and sensitive to the other person, to the music and true to your own skills and knowledge.

It means also that you have to find the fine line between being empathic and “pushing” the student . Often, when getting a new piece to learn, my youngest students complains: I can’t do this! This is too hard!

And I have to use some – empathetic! – humor and create an atmosphere of joy and energy. Such I can help them getting into the “right mood”, and maybe we start just working with one beat at the time…and I explain to them:

When learning new stuff you have to be patient with yourself. Keep on trying, be kind to yourself, and promise me that you won’t give up just because it is hard.

And after this little conversation, I help the student to go into the new piece, as if we travelled into a new, unknown country on our own. I am not carrying or making the work for the student – but I am by her side, and I encourage her and show her how to be patient in the process.

I think it is important to reflect on the music practice as an education with many dimensions. We have to look at the (serious) student as a hard working and sometimes vulnerable person, who is fascinated by the possibility of learning musical skills. The educational process of learning to play an instrument can develop you a lot. It means a lot to your self conscience and to your belief in the value of hard work – and when you learn to play, you learn a language that you can use for expressing your feelings, moods and emotions.

Teaching a young music student is therefore a great responsibility. As a teacher you have to be conscious about: From which place, inside of this person’s mind, comes the deeper fascination for music…?


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