Dedicating oneself to pedagogy is a difficult task and one that demands great responsibility; nevertheless it also brings about much satisfaction and joy. It requires several indispensable conditions, such as pedagogic knowledge, instrumental mastery, intuition, energy, perseverance, curiosity, great amounts of enthusiasm and love for teaching. In addition to all that, such dedication demands a pedagogic philosophy, a kind of master plan, that will guide us along the way.
However, to define a pedagogic philosophy is always difficult. Everything about teaching (not only to play an instrument) is evolution, adaptation, and constant learning throughout the whole life. As soon as one ceases to evolve, to be curious, to wish to learn, to be flexible, to improve as a musician and as a pedagogue, one strays from the right way. In my class I have sometimes learnt more than I have taught, and I am very thankful to my students for that.
Beyond his qualities, age, progress and maturity, each student is unique, and deserves being nurtured and cared for according to his own individual characteristics. In the same manner, each studentâ€™s education must be governed by a master guideline, which nevertheless has to be adjusted with the necessary flexibility to each situation and moment during the whole lifetime. Students under a teacherâ€™s tuition are constantly renewed, fresh pedagogic methods incessantly appear, instrumental standards steadily rise; all this demands from a teacher permanent ability to adapt, attention and development. These are the qualities, together with intuition and vocation, that distinguish a great teacher.
It is also my firm belief that a studentâ€™s education must not be restricted to the instrumental aspect, however relevant this is: most important is his cultivation as a musician and as a person. It has been a great pleasure for me to have some students who are good musicians and could have adopted cello as a profession but chose a different life course; they filled me with satisfaction as a teacher and as a friend.
In order to become a professional cellist a student needs, besides being taught the instrument, to be guided and advised: books, records, concerts, exhibitions, travels, courses, competitions, etc. are some of the necessary complements for a future professional musician. The broadest and richest possible education is vital for his creativity and potential growth.
The rest is dedication, effort, work, constancy and patience on the part of both the teacher and the student. It is always important to remember that learning is a process: the teacher does not carry the student to the goal but accompanies him along the way.