Editorâ€™s Note: Meet Katheryn Naler, an MIE student/Violin major in her 3rd year and doing her first MIE Guided Internship! Katheryn’s internship this semester is tied in with the String Pedagogy course taught through the NEC Strings Dept.
When I was a young girl, I wanted to be a violin teacher and performer. Even during the years when performing was at the top of my gratification list (even if it meant playing on a balcony, pretending it to be the Carnegie Hall stage), when I got home to the privacy of my room, I would teach imaginary students how to learn the concepts I myself practiced. At the age of 11, I began teaching three brothers, but soon my â€œstudioâ€, as I excitedly called it, doubled as my first students spread the word. As I turned 12, I began teaching an 11 year old who then stayed with me until I moved away, right before he began preparing for college auditions. He now is playing repertoire that I havenâ€™t even approached, an experience I hope to always cherish.
As I enter this internship, I have much to learn! I wonder how to approach a four year old and impart the desire for learning that I had when I was young â€“ to truly engage them in the excitement of learning music. I want to learn how to not play information down so much that a small child doesnâ€™t see the wonderful value of music and the joy it can bring. I want to learn how to convey not only musical knowledge, but intertwine insight that has been important to my growth, developing a deeper connection with the student in the long term. I want to learn different methods of which to teach and how to avoid pain and injury. To accomplish these goals for my internship, I would like to teach one four-year-old student, focusing on his learning style. Each lesson plan, as well as new ideas I have, will be documented before the lesson. After each lesson, I will journal the strengths and weaknesses of the lesson as well as new information/insights Iâ€™ve gathered in response. I will also be observing at least four other teacherâ€™s lessons with their students during the semester, taking notes throughout the lesson, as well as writing a response journal entry afterward, regarding what I learned. During the semester, I will write at least three times on the MIE blog, mirroring what Iâ€™m acquiring as well as thoughts Iâ€™ve had in response to my new ideas. At the completion of the semester, I will turn in a portfolio of all the lesson plans, response/journal entries, MIE blog entries, as well as a video of one of the first lessons and the last lesson before the internship has come to a close. The video will demonstrate my progression as a teacher as well as the progression my student has had throughout our months together.
To cultivate the experience for the student and myself, I have registered for the String Pedagogy class. Although this class directly connects with my desire to teach pre-college students in a studio atmosphere, I have also taken Performing Artists in Schools and Performing Artists in Community. These classes will aid my experience greatly as I learned better how to grasp young childrenâ€™s attention as an artist in schools (emulating Bernstein in his Young Peopleâ€™s concerts), and how each person is important, a small part of a community, and how music can create community. I have also taken Music, Brain, and Child Development with Lyle Davidson. This class relates to my internship in that we studied the brainâ€™s development in relation to music and how children mature even from conception. We learned how music, whether a nursery rhyme or the widely recognized Mozart, is so very intertwined in a childâ€™s developing brain. Having this knowledge will help me understand how to more creatively engage the four-year-old student.
This internship will help me prepare for my career as a violin teacher, but more importantly prepare me to be a teacher forever learning. It will increase the opportunity for me to focus on the aspects of a successful teacher as well as hone my own. I will hopefully broaden my perspectives while I inevitably learn new techniques entirely. I will begin to learn what is essential for me to begin understanding before I leave NEC: What does it mean to be a successful teacher? How do I engage a student while effectively communicating? How do I set up a beginnerâ€™s technique in a clear, concise way in order for it to stick in their minds and be understandable for their own practice?