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Pedagogy Forum

Food for Thought

I am a rabid quotation collector, and over the years, the quotations have gradually fallen into a variety of categories - mostly related to musical topics such as teaching, expectations, practicing, and education (which is definitely different at times from teaching). Sometimes, I will post them on my bulletin board or in a studio newsletter and there are always some responses from students and/or parents. Since we are beginning the 2008-2009 teaching schedule, I decided to share some of them with you, my colleagues - some maybe familiar, some humorous, some practical and some can only be classified as "enigmatic". The sources range from books on quotations to books on learning styles.

EXAMINATIONS:
The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man's foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher. (Thomas Huxley)

PRACTICING
§ Yesterday is past, tomorrow is yet to be, today is all you have to use. (Anon.)
§ If at first you don't succeed, you are normal. (T. Lautzeheiser)
§ Practice is the best of all instruction. (Maxim 407, Publius Syras, circa 42 B.C.)
§ Practicing is an act of faith. The practicing that you do now is your down payment for years and years to come. (John Perry)

TEACHING:
§ You cannot put the same shoe on every foot. (Maxim 593, Publius Syras)
§ A teacher affects eternity. He can never tell where his influence stops. (Anon.)
§ Of all the titles applied to me, I like "teacher" best of all. (Piatagorsky)
§ The teacher who is rigid, who believes there is only one approach, who imposes it and wants unquestioning compliance - such a teacher misses a great deal of the enrichment that comes from the student. (Yehudi Menuhin)
§ Our chief want in life is somebody who will make us do what we can. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

PERFORMANCE:
§ The greatest risk is not taking one. (Anon.)
§ The music is not in the instrument. The music is in you. (A. Marcus)
§ Life is like a piano - what you get out of it depends on how you play it. (Anon.)
§ Keep the tempo! Then, even if there are mistakes, the music will still be alive. (Nadia Boulanger)

REPERTOIRE:
§ An artist should never lose sight of the thing as a whole. He who puts too much into details will find that the thread which holds the whole thing together will break. (Frederic Chopin)
§ Love the work you're playing - it shows.

The following is not about music, but is one of my favourite quotes because of its analogy!
A story is not like a running track. A story is a river made by the joining of many streams. We can explore a few, but we cannot turn back to trace them. It is like a road also - turning constantly, branching off from it. One cannot explore all the branches. We have to choose carefully.

Best wishes for the new teaching year.

Mary Tickner