Bonnie and Pianist Milton Stern, sharing teaching strategies
I’ve been involved in mentoring other teachers for the past thirty years. Back in the 1990’s I initiated a mentoring program that focused on having teachers observe Master Teachers in their studios. After gathering names of teachers willing to act as mentors, I matched up attendees with Master Teachers living in the same approximate area. My intent was to introduce new teachers to view highly motivated and successful lesson strategies.
More recently, in the summer of 2018, MCMTA President Alice Ma asked me to create a mentoring program for MCMTA members, called “Musical Camaraderie,” that encourages intimate group meetings to discuss pedagogical issues. Our first meeting in the fall had over a dozen participants, indicative of the interest in such a program. Those present decided that monthly meetings would be appropriate and a schedule was initiated. I took notes of the meetings for future reference.
Topics have included:
How to teach specific passages
How to deal with small hands
How to help weak fingers
How to set up a studio policy
How to attract more students
Setting up a webpage
Introducing sight singing
Holding group classes for students
Musical Camaraderie Meeting: Alice Ma,
Miri Frenkel-Yacubovich, & Bonnie
Mentoring Group Announcements in MCMTA Newsletters
(click to enlarge)
All of us have shared ideas at these meetings and online through emails. The success of this group is reflected by the request for a continuance of frequent get-togethers.
During the following year (2019), Carol Brody and I introduced a column in the MCMTA newsletter offering general advice and also inviting an exchange of ideas from other teachers. When the newsletter distribution was interrupted temporarily, we considered continuing the column online on the MCMTA webpage.
If you’d like more information about mentoring programs, contact me.
Comments from Mentored Peers
Simply Stunning! Not only is Bonnie Kellert a spectacular pianist whose technique knows no bounds, but she is a renowned educator, lecturer and mentor. Her studio sparkles with musical talent gleaned from her dedication and love of teaching. As a mentor, she inspires me with new insights and musical perspectives, challenging me always to achieve. Thank you, Bonnie!
- Linda Fotis, Director, Joy of Music, Washington, DC