July 2011

Teacher Talk

A series of teaching-articles in the Strad Magazine

A student of mine is entering a national violin competition and is under-prepared. Is it better to let him try and fail and learn a lesson, or should
I get him to withdraw and save himself the humiliation and any damage to my reputation?

Janet Morris, London, UK
Boris Kuschnir: I think it would be better not to send him unprepared. Firstly, he might become very disappointed, and in the worst case, stop playing the violin forever. Secondly, it would not be good if the student plays badly in the competition, and everybody knows that he is your student. 1t would be better to send him to a smaller competition, with easier repertoire, where he might get a small prize. That would motivate him to prepare bener in the future.