Sharing joy & the quest for excellence
One of my students, Francesca Raimondi, an accomplished teacher studying on the ESTA Postgraduate Certificate for String Teaching course shared her writing about striving for excellence with and for our students. It is with her permission that I’m sharing it – because I found it so inspiring. Joy, achievement, self-efficacy, real learning, it’s all in there. This is also on Francesca’s blog, but that’s in Italian, as that is her first language! I am grateful she has translated it for me.
Given each student’s features and skills, one of my biggest aim is to teach them to go beyond their limits. I believe everyone can reach his maximum and excellence. Excellence is not perfection, but it’s the highest level one can reach in terms of performance, learning and musical skills’s development.
A student should reach excellence just for himself. He shouldn’t have an abstract idea of perfection. He shouldn’t compare himself with anyone else. But he just should have the constant increase of his skills as a goal.
To put it in statistic terms, he should have an idiographic and not nomothetic approach. This way he’ll be able to create his personal story of success and growth.
This goals aren’t, in my opinion, just for the “most talented” pupils. They’re for everyone.
I expect the excellence from all my students. Even the youngest ones, aged often 2 or 3. And the disabled ones. Each one has his maximum and his excellence, and he can reach them. My job as a teacher is “just” to adapt my work to each one of them and work oh their motivation. I also want to discover and foster their strengths.
Using positive reinforcement, games and motivation, I demand them total earnestness and dedication. I don’t like making distinctions or discounts or this matter.
All of them know they can get better and they’re happy about it.
The cutest example of happiness is Maria, who has Down syndrome and after few months of lessons shows all her satisfaction for having learnt her first rhythm on the violin :
I want first of all teach my students to let anyone say to them “You can’t do this” or “You won’t succeed”. I want them to have high expectations for themselves. And I want them to try once more, practice, engage. Without neither anxiety nor fear but with tenacity and enthusiasm.
This way, when they’ll be grown up they’ll be able to face life’s challenges without being taken aback. They’ll develop resilience and self esteem, and music will have been for them not just a nice activity. It will have been first of all an opportunity of growth and a great learning for their life that will last forever.”
Thank you Francesca.I love the topic of ‘going beyond your limits’. They aren’t limits, most often we don’t realise they are just corners, or we need to stand on blocks to see beyond the walls – and teachers can help guide us to that freedom of thought and possibility of making those dreams reality. This is music with joy, and I agree 100% Bravissima!
To find out more about Francesca and her teaching, see her blog HERE.