Influence on my own teaching and playing
During the process of finalising this Master Research, society was confronted with a new challenge: the Corona or Covid-19 virus. Suddenly the world as we knew it stopped and we were confined to our house for at least two months. Not only does this have a big impact on our personal lives and on our practice and income as freelance musicians, it also confronts us with new challenges for us as teachers. We are teaching from home using all the possibilities that the internet has given us and much of this is already discussed in earlier chapters. Within days our conservatory changed its courses to an online environment and within a week, with the effort of all teachers, staff and students, we continued our program, with both individual lessons and classes. Luckily the school had already started with online teaching, evaluation and communication but now things were radically put in a high pressure cooker by the latest developments. As I write this conclusion we are now in the third week of a partial lockdown and we are doing our best to develop online teaching as fast as we can. zoom.us, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Google Hangouts and Jitsi are tested and used. Many of them are not very suitable for music. The voice compression used for these applications is not working for the transmission of live music. But we are learning new things everyday. Many of the themes from this research now come in handy and make it al the more relevant for my own practice.
So the impact of this research has prepared me to be a better teacher online and that is helpful now. But the research also helped me grow as a bass player and teacher. It structured my lessons and helped the students to new practise topics and a better overview on their development. And in the process, the things I found set me to practise a lot of these things myself too. Teaching and learning is a matter of repetition and not being afraid to go back to basics, keeping an overview on your own development and the developments of your students.
Teaching used to be more or less confined to the classroom where the teacher and the student would meet. The outside world is entering the classroom, and recently, the classroom is moving outside the schools and into peoples homes. Through internet, apps, online tutorials and all other new developments the teacher has to be prepared to make use of these new opportunities. The traditional teaching methods need to be reviewed and adapted.
The relationship between the student and the teacher is not about asking for knowledge and offering knowledge anymore. All information and knowledge are freely available. What is not freely available is guidance and supervision. Helping students to choose a direction in the vast amount of possibilities and offering cohesion and meaning to the development of the student. Of course, the teacher ‘has to know it all’ or at least needs to have it under his fingertips but more than anything the teacher need to show the doors of possibilities and let the student walk through them by themselves.
Amsterdam, April 19th 2020
I would like to thank Kathryn Cok, my supervisor, Paul Craenen, Casper Schipper, for technical support, John Clayton, Hein van de Geyn, Marietta Aprea, Yvonne Smeets, Tineke Steenbrink, and all my colleagues at the master circle and the bass department.