Today Dr. Amber Sander graced the Ball State violists with her presence! Amber is a friend of mine from Texas (we were working towards our doctorates at North Texas at the same time), who is an incredible pedagogue and musician. She's one of those people whose brain you want to pick all the time, because she really think about everything in-depth (not only music-related things), and if you ask her something she doesn't know, she'll RESEARCH it and come back with lucid, well-educated answers. She's phenomenal.
She's not a bad violist, either. ;)
Her visit began with a lecture-presentation on Karen Tuttle's Coordination method. She explained the background and some basic concepts of the method, and had all of us try out a few things with our instruments. Coordination is a very interesting method, in that it is different for everyone. I studied with three Coordination teachers, all of whom studied with Karen, so my Coordination is a melding of these three main influences, among the other teachers I encountered and my own discoveries over the years. Dr. Sander's Coordination is similar to mine, but with different words, explanations, gestures, and written symbols.
Many of my students have been exposed to some of these ideas already (as a result of working with me), but it's always good to hear the same thing said in a different way, and to get confirmation from an outside source that your goofy viola teacher isn't so goofy she doesn't know what she's talking about! (In case any of you out there don't know, I am rather goofy. In a serious-about-viola kind of way.) :)
After the lecture, we moved across the street to Choral Hall for the masterclass portion of Dr. Sander's visit. Two of my students played, and I am so proud of them. It's not easy playing in front of your peers, your teacher, AND a guest artist on repertoire you're still learning, but they both were wonderful, and Dr. Sander helped them with techniques and musical ideas. What a treat!
Overall, I think my students got a lot out of Dr. Sander's visit-- I know I did. It was a wonderful reminder and overview of the method that changed and spurred my musical career, and I'll be revisiting the basics next time I practice... happily.