What are some of the qualities of a model music student?
Jesse Holstein: I would say the student’s curiosity has to be piqued and the student has to be intrinsically motivated. So if he or she is just learning music for the sake of the parents or for the sake of trying to reach some sort of standardized level, it’s not really going to work. If a student is really curious about the process and is motivated from within, then it starts to get really interesting as a teacher. Parental involvement is also really critical. Not when a parent is involved so much that the child doesn’t have any intrinsic motivation, but if intrinsic motivation is coupled with a parent who shows an interest in letting the child grow on his or her own, then amazing things can happen.
How do you try to foster rapport with your students?
Jesse Holstein: I think students really need to feel safe around the teacher. Meaning, if they make a mistake or they’re having trouble, it’s not really a bad thing, just another opportunity to explore why something isn’t working. It’s not a punitive sort of feeling, but it’s just that curiosity is sparked, they feel supported and safe, and that they can go at their own pace. I think that as a teacher, part of my responsibility is to be a chameleon and to be really flexible to all my students’ learning styles. Some kids pick up things very quickly where others struggle, so I have to be really flexible. I have to ask myself, “How can I access this student’s creativity?” And there are so many different avenues—I feel like I’m just getting started.
Read the rest of Jesse's interview here.