26/100 Learning and teaching

This is one of my favourite “teacher” quotes”

To teach is to learn twice. - Joseph Joubert

I’m back on track with harpsichord lessons, after taking a break for a couple of months (there have been pressing family matters which had to come first).

This might become a new favourite quote:

I am still learning. (at age 87) - Michelangelo



I’m constantly distracted during my lessons, because as well as trying to learn how to play the harpsichord, I’m also watching how I am learning, and how my teacher is teaching. Not a problem that most students have, I suspect.

I think what infuriates me most, is when I hear my teacher saying exactly the same things to me that I say to my own students – oh, how I should have realized this for myself! But I’m finding it very valuable to put myself in the position of being the student, and it is definitely having a beneficial effect on my own teaching.

So, what am I studying? Bach; the Prelude and Fugue in D minor from “The 48” book 1, and the Italian Concerto, movements 1 and 2 so far. I did the Prelude and Fugue years ago on the piano, but have bought a new copy, to make sure that I learn it from scratch, fingering, articulation and all, uncontaminated by any pianistic ideas. Bringing out the different voices of the fugue is a challenge – the articulation becomes all-important.

My harpsichord teacher is a good mixture of encouraging and rigorous; so I am now less slip-shod with fingering (a product of too much sight-reading and “winging it” in my daily life) and more focused on playing with concentration and accuracy.

I also have more sympathy with my own students who haven’t done as much practice as they should have done – I too am finding it challenging to sit down and do the practice instead of reading a book, fiddling around on the computer, or any of a hundred and one things that need doing… Maybe I need to draw a practice schedule for myself!


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