Seeing the Other Side of Your Student
Private music teachers are called upon to evaluate students in many ways, including learning style, ability, flexibility of thinking, and personality. More and more, students seem to be in situations that pose challenges to their ability to thrive and grow. At times we struggle to find the balance between empathizing with the student, and keeping on task with the musical challenges a lesson presents. Ideally, parents serve as a buffer zone between the child and the pressures of the world, helping the vulnerable child learn to tolerate frustrations. But sometimes, parents need help, too. However, we can sometimes use our relationship with a student to help turn upset into understanding. A knowledge of children’s cognitive and emotional development can also help us make useful assignments that encourage optimal musical growth. In addition, even if a lack of practice limits the joy of accomplishment, the predictable routine that the lesson structure provides can help our students and families during challenging times.
Edmund Sprunger has taught violin for over 30 years, including over 300 workshops and master classes throughout the world, and is a Registered Teacher Trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas. Mr. Sprunger holds a BA in music from Goshen College, where he studied violin with Lon Sherer, and piano and piano pedagogy with Marvin Blickenstaff. In addition, he studied violin and violin pedagogy with with Shin’ichi Suzuki at the Saino Kyoiku Kaikan in Japan. Additional violin studies have been with Chihiro Kudo, Reinaldo Couto (Alexander Technique/Violin), and Kent Perry. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Suzuki Association of the Americas and as Chair of the American String Teachers Association's [ASTA] Committee on Studio Instruction. In 2004 he received an ASTA Citation for Leadership and Merit. Also a psychotherapist in private practice, he holds a Masters in Social Work from the University of Michigan and has done extensive post-degree training in psychoanalysis. He is the author of Helping Parents Practice: Ideas for Making It Easier (Vol. 1) and Building Violin Skills: A Set of Plans Designed to Help Parents and Children Construct Positive Practices, available from yespublishing.com.