Paul Harris | Episode 3

“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

Links and items mentioned in this episode: