Witness Excellent Teaching

I've talked about Brian, before, here. But last week Tal had his last violin day of the year with Brian, and I want to celebrate that, as well as give you all the opportunity to see really excellent non-coercive teaching in practice.

Brian Hoover is a virtuoso teacher. Not because he 'trains' people to be virtuosos, but precisely because he doesn't. Brian listens.

What you will witness in the 1/2 hour video below is Brian's extraordinary patience, flexibility, openness, and compassion. This is the definition, to me, of a good teacher. He acknowledges that teaching is not a one-way flow of information, but that it is a conversation, with acceptance and response being key to learning. In just 20 or 30 weeks (45 minutes/week), Brian has taught Tali many fundamental (conventional and unconventional) music skills, but above all he has become his friend.

Each class is a compassionate conversation between two people, through music. Beyond conventional musical theory, my son has learned to express himself, to hear music, to be open to ideas presented, that he has a valuable voice, and that the universe is available to him to create, to love, and to celebrate. And all of this happened while Brian honoured Tali's desire to hold his violin upright on his feet, and to never 'practice'!

Taliesin plays when he wants to, how he wants to, and he goes to his excellent teacher for inspiration, to learn about life, and for friendship.

Tali is very quiet. He prefers not to talk, if possible, until he has known somebody for quite a while. During the first few sessions with Brian, he was pretty quiet; he lightly fluttered the bow across the strings and mumbled a few words when absolutely required. He did the bare minimum. Then one day he played with volume. Volume! 

Exclaimed Brian, "Well - that's a different sound than usual!"

"Yes," Tali replied, through lowered lashes and a screen of long hair. "My violin found his voice again." 

Thank you, Brian, for your beautiful gift to us and to the world.

The Music Party on Ile Kerguelen

I heard music coming from somewhere deep in the woods beside our property. Harmonica and accordion.

This morning the kids decided to go on an adventure around the world, and checked on their inflatable globe-beachball where exactly the other side of the world is... Turns out to be Ile Kerguelen, where they tell me a French music party is happening! So they planned their route over land via Alaska, Russia, the middle East, and Africa, made plans for rafting across the aqueous parts of that route, packed up both winter clothes and sunhats, first aid supplies, a French dictionary, a camera, a harmonica and an accordion, and they left.

They said I can call them in if their friends come over.

One beautiful part of this is that it the following were the only input from me:

"Mama, Where's the exact other side of the world?"
"I don't know; maybe Australia. You'll have to check your globe."

"Mama, can we bring the big first aid kit?"
"No; please don't."