Teaching with an Open Heart

I never sit down with a book and read it cover to cover, but when I opened Teaching with an Open Heart to the first page, I could not put it down until I had finished the epilogue!

Here was a book focused entirely on how to nurture in our students the intangibles of music-making—expressiveness, artistry, heart, energy, and consciously expressing the unique voice within each of us by playing our instruments.

After facing life-threatening illness and surgery, author Ed Kreitman began a journey back to health that led him to new insights about not only the physical body but the energy body that exist within all of us. After experiencing the tremendous healing effect that conscious awareness of energy had in his own life, Ed began exploring strategies he could use to guide his students to access their self-awareness in helpful ways. Revisiting Dr. Suzuki’s writings, Ed saw how Suzuki’s vision of developing tone and musicianship through attention to the human spirit, the “life force” was, in fact, Suzuki’s assertion that developing awareness and nurturing the energy body of our students is fundamentally important to nurturing the whole musical child.

An overview of the chapter titles reveals the special content of this book. Chapter 1 – Defining Progress; Chapter 2 – Energy—the Life Force; Chapter 3 – The Seven Realms of Awareness; Chapter 4- How We Use Energy in Playing the Violin; Chapter 5 – Developing Musicianship; Chapter 6 – Group Class – What It’s Really All About. However, this is not a “touchy-feely” book. This is a guidebook of very specific ideas and strategies for educating our students’ hearts and voices in tandem with their technique.

In Teaching with an Open Heart, Ed Kreitman clearly and thoughtfully offers the reader a new vision for teaching, a vision where Suzuki’s fundamental principle “tone has the living soul” is at the center of our students’ talent education. How does one teach “soul?” You need to read this book!