PEOPLE

Steven Tenenbom

Friday, 21 June 2013

The Orion Quartet violist and teacher explains the importance of failure

Focus on your weaknesses and tackle them one at a time

My stepfather-in-law, the violist and pedagogue Ara Zerounian, always said that the secret of being a good teacher was to love one's students. 

Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Instead, be brave! Students often seem to be more concerned with what they can't do than with what they would like to do. Practise hard. Take risks. And above all, don't let fear overpower what you are trying to communicate musically.

I learn from my successes. However, I learn more from my failures. 

Once you find the climax of a phrase, work backwards so that you know where you want to go and how you need to get there. 

Assess your strengths and weaknesses. Congratulate yourself for the good things about your playing. Then focus on your weaknesses and tackle them one at a time – that's when your confidence will soar. 

Photo: Lois Greenfield

First published in The Strad, July 2013. Download the issue here.

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