Joshua discovered his love of teaching while studying at Furman University. Because his performance degree didn’t offer teaching electives he created his own independent study to explore teaching in different types of schools in Greenville County. He would later learn the Suzuki method for cello, a well-established pedagogy that focuses on encouragement, repetition, and parent involvement. Joshua uses a healthy mix of Suzuki techniques and traditional methods to cater lessons specifically for each student. All students will learn note reading, ear training, and theory.
There has never been a student who wishes they practiced less growing up! Developing a practice habit is the single most important factor for success, but can be the most difficult to start. There are no shortcuts. Here are some tips on how to practice:
Find a consistent time to practice. If you are a morning or night person practice during that time. Time your practice to begin after or end in time for your favorite TV show, or next meal, or playtime with friends.
Find a consistent place to practice. If you are trying to figure out where to go every day you will be less likely to feel comfortable. Have your stand and equipment ready in the same space every day and it will feel natural to get into a practice habit. Keep animals, electronics, and other distractions away.
Listen to the music. We learn languages first by hearing it, and music is a language. The internet is a great resource for a variety of interpretations. By listening to the music we can more easily understand it, in what is called the “mother tongue approach” in Suzuki pedagogy.
Work on music in sections. It can be daunting looking at pages of music to learn, so make it easier by breaking it down. This is especially good for younger students who may not yet have the attention span for learning a whole page. Take it one line or phrase at a time.
Take your time. We all want to play fast and hard music but sometimes it is about the journey, not the destination. The quickest way to play quick is to start slow.
Use a metronome. You wouldn’t drive a car without using a speedometer, so don’t try and learn music without a metronome.
Ask for help. Maybe you need someone to watch your arm, or listen to a passage, or just be there for encouragement. Ask a parent or sibling to sit with you for a couple minutes. You can also contact your teacher if you have questions rather than waiting until the next lesson.
Practice daily. Learning happens at home, not in the studio. The amount of time will vary on age and experience but even playing a scale a few times is better than not playing at all. Studies have shown that frequency of practice, not length of time, causes greater success. That means if you skip a day of practice, doing twice as much the next day has little effect!
Download these PDFs for necessary equipment and books: