Pedagogy expertiece across the ocean


On an Autumn Friday evening two classrooms full of violin pedagogue excitement gathered together to attend a lecture. This time it was excecuted with a twist; as a distance learning session live from Indiana US to the Helsinki Music Centre auditorium.

Student groups in both Finland an the US attended the lecture where professor Mimi Zweig from Jacobs School of Music in University of Indiana, Bloomington, shared her knowledge from across the Atlantic to the Sibelius Academy students in Helsinki. The lecture was a part of Sibelius Academy’s general pedagogy lecture series and this is the first time SibA utilized distance learning for pedagogy lectures.

Through video conferencing technique prof. Zweig gave a two-hour lecture presenting her ideas on teaching violin pedagogy and playing. In a teaching studio in Indiana, she had some students of her own with whom she demonstrated her methods. For example, she shared her views on how to create a non-judgemental environment for music learning. For her, unjudgmental means learning from mistakes, learning to make errors without anxiety.

- Imagine yourself on on a stage where you will be playing solo Bach. In the audience you’ll find all your friendes, parents, teachers – it’s a very stressful enviroment. What happens if you have a memory slip or a play a wrong tune? You getstressed, and that is perfectly normal. But what do these thoughts create in your body? With stress comes tension and it is hard to play with muscle tension; nerve signals don’t get to where they need to be when your neck is tense, she states throug the cameras.

As the lecture went on, discussion envigorated and the boundaries disappeared. For Mimi Zweig, this was the first time doing anything like this, teaching through a video screen. How did she expierience it? Did she have to modify her lecture, methods or message somehow concidering that the audience is not in the physical space with her?

- The lecture experience was very wonderful for me. The setting was comfortable and the picture and the sound was almost as though we were in the same room. After I saw the audience sitting in front of me on our big screen, I felt as though I was in the same space.  There were no modifications necessary on my part, especially after the speaker was being thrown around and we could be in immediate contact with all. The distance learning is and will be a valuable teaching tool., and I especially liked the interaction of the audience with me. I would be happy to do this again and to explore other possibilities, she tells afterwards.


More information about distance learning at the Sibelius Academy:

Lecturer in Violin Music,
Academic Coordinator of Distance Learning