Saturday morning quote #9: More on teaching
Constrained by time and travel, today’s short and unadorned quotes are drawn from Les Principes du Clavecin, contenant une Explication exacte de tout ce qui concerne la tablature et le Clavier, by Monsieur* de Saint-Lambert, published in Paris, 1702. The prefatory remarks contain several insightful passages that clearly distinguish Saint-Lambert as an empathetic teacher, as well as a kindred spirit to this writer.
A good teacher knows to the bottom the abilities of those who put themselves in his hands and, accommodating himself to the range and capacity of each of them, he teaches each in the way that suits their talent. He devises as many methods as he has different talents [to develop in his students]. He speaks childishly to children, reasonably to reasonable persons: to both he speaks intelligently and tersely.
The good teacher brings far along the road to perfection the scholar who has much facility…and even further the one who has more facility. He causes the male and female scholars who may have more talent than he has to play better than he does. And because he knows that one cannot profit unless one really likes playing, he has a special secret to cause his pupils to like learning.
I’ll add a personal note that, this week, a student in guitar and composition confessed that I effectively taught him to play piano from the harmony and voice-leading exercises I wrote out and encouraged him to play at the keyboard for better understanding of the movement. He’s good.
*Nota Bene: Amended to clarify identity, not to be (understandably) confused with Michel Lambert (1610 – 1696).