Hyun Jung Kim, DMA
My goal as an educator is to provide students with resources to take ownership of their musical development both in their college education and in their professional careers. I aim to help them develop the critical thinking skills they need to ultimately become their own teachers. I believe in teaching fundamental principles of technique, and I encourage students to focus on one basic idea at a time. Scales, arpeggios, etudes, and other exercises are an important part of daily practice and should be reinforced with weekly technique classes. The emphasis of these classes is to learn how to use the body’s natural alignment in order to achieve fluidity of movement free from tension. Forces such as gravity and momentum allow us to relax muscles and prevent injury. In the study of technique, it is critical that students set attainable goals for themselves, and I work to help them organize their practice time with this in mind. In all of my teaching, I consider positive reinforcement to be of primary importance in order for students to have the necessary confidence in their own ability to grow.
Teaching students how to bridge the gap between technique and musicianship is a crucial component of my teaching. The purpose of technical proficiency is to be able to express musical ideas to their fullest potential. Every student has his or her own unique voice and point of view, and I believe that my role as a teacher is to help them understand how they can execute their musical vision. Having a clear idea of phrasing is the first step, and I teach my students that every note they play is either going towards a destination, or coming away from one. Learning how to tell a story through music is my favorite part of being a violinist, and I enjoy working with my students to create different colors and characters with their phrasing. I consider it important, too, to bridge the gap between practice and performance, and to that end I encourage students to envision themselves performing even as they practice.
Another focus of my pedagogy is allowing students to be teachers. Students learn as much from each other as they do their teacher, and weekly performance classes can foster this. Studio class provides students with the opportunity not only to perform for their peers, but also to listen. Knowing how to give constructive criticism is an important skill, and I encourage students to make comments in class. I believe that learning how to be your own teacher begins with understanding how to listen critically.
Finally, developing public speaking skills and learning how to write a grant application are as important to building a musical career as being able to play the instrument. By ensuring my students’ well-rounded education, my hope is that they leave my studio equipped with useful resources for their futures.