“There is always a solution. What’s more… there is always a positive solution to everything.”
Paul Harris is one of the top music educators in the world. Having studied at the Royal Academy, Paul has gone on to forge a wide career – spanning composition, performance, editing, adjudicating and teaching. His knowledge and passion is infectious & we had a great chat about his unique thoughts and refreshing approaches to education.
Even if your interests do not lie with teaching so much – there is still huge worth in these sections of the interview. Teaching (i feel) is at the heart of really understanding and unpacking music more deeply & therefore improving your own musicianship.
What you will learn from this episode:
- Paul’s early movements into teaching at age 9! (sort of… 😉
- His mentors
- How being a teacher informs your musicianship
- The difference between collaborative teaching and authoritarian teaching which is at the core of Paul’s approach.
- The ‘myth of difficult’ – the perspective that nothing is difficult, but that it is really about finding the logical progression through ones learning.
- What’s the next thing to work on? What’s the next thing your students should be working on?
- The importance of really taking a piece off the page & mess with the ‘ingredients’ and ‘materials’.
- Being creative as a teacher and exploring your style.
- Avoiding reactive and ‘mistakes teaching’.
- Paul’s approach and methodology of ‘simultaneous learning’.
- How Paul talks students through HOW to practice & why practice is important.
- How to get students more engaged in the elements of music and get them to unpack a piece.
- The idea of flow and effortless engagement.
- The value of balance and lack of tension.
- How Paul guides students to learn through his compositions – or the idea of ‘order’ in terms of learning/progressing through musical material.
- The importance and progression of student’s rhythmic understanding in music.
- How people play a hugely important role in Paul’s compositions
- Living and staying positive as a musician