I believe in music as a sublime form of communication, the most expressive of the arts. As a teacher, I try to explain to my students that better they become in playing their instrument, the clearer the message will be. In my lessons I insist in balanced improvement of both technical difficulties and musical expression. Students should be introduced to both concepts from the beginning. One cannot have an accurate, intelligent performance without highly developed technique, and again, performance of notes without expression could be very dull for the audience.
I believe that to reach the heights of technical mastery a violinist should always question and reinforce the basics. Good posture and well set left and right hands have crucial role in developing a violin technique. I explain to my students the importance of standing and holding the instrument as naturally as possible. The full motoric potential and control over the instrument is achieved only with relaxed and unlocked muscles and limbs. In my teaching I especially focus on sound production. A consistent beautiful tone helps improving every other aspect in string playing: intonation, articulation, rhythm, clarity, and expressiveness. I insist on daily routine of simple exercises (scales, Ševčik, and Schradieck methods) which will allow students to spotlight and solve their individual technical problems. In my teaching I constantly encourage the active listening and self -recording as an objective observation of one’s improvement.
Understanding the flow of the musical phrase and concept of the musical form is a great gift, but it needs to be nurtured. Playing just by instinct can be very fresh, but sometimes not true to the composer’s style. I try to explain to my students how important it is to constantly read and listen a variety of music material. This is necessary in the process of developing their ideas and ways of interpretation. My goal is to point their attention in direction to all the small details in the score as well as grasping the concept of the whole piece, the “big picture.”
To teach violin is a great joy but also a responsibility. It is my constant desire to teach students how to fully use their potential and to prepare them for the hardships and pleasures that come along with being a professional musician. Hard work is, in my opinion, a major component for every success. I insist on consistency, dedication, and constructive criticism. As a role model, I am willing to listen and work hard in order to improve myself and my playing. I am ready to learn from my students and my mistakes. I often point out the importance of the teenage and early college years as the time when students are physically and mentally able to maximize their growth as musicians.
I am grateful to be able to share the highly emotional and spiritual experience of music with my students.
Dr. Danijela Žeželj-Gualdi