Uri Vardi: “My Teaching Philosophy”

“I believe that my principal role as a teacher is to help my students become aware of who they are and to help them grow. It is not to define their faults nor cure them. The driving force in this process is my curiosity in the unique makeup of each of my students. As a cello teacher, I not only challenge my students to understand the intentions of each composer, I also help them to explore their inner world, and to express their unique voice within the context of the composition. Most of the learning occurs in the process of working towards a musical goal. When I teach a musical composition, I often guide my students to attend to their habitual ways of musical expression. Musical expression encompasses the whole range of human emotions. Although the exploration of expressive nuances does not necessarily lead directly to the ultimate mastery of a composition, it frequently results in the expansion of the student’s personality and music-making abilities. This way of learning is organic rather than linear. Instead of setting concrete, simple goals and learning the prescribed tools to attain them, in organic learning, the experimentation with different ideas provides the student with the freedom to choose among a whole array of options for expressing a musical intention.

The same principle of encouraging the search for a variety of options applies to the technical mastery of the musical instrument. In order for my students to gain the ability to meet any composition’s demands, they must have a vast repertoire of movements that will give them the freedom to use their bodies with maximum efficiency. Most of us accept the ways we move as if they are a part of our genetic makeup, whereas in reality, we learned to move by trial and error, and our nervous system is wired according to our experiences. Unless we are challenged to question this wiring, and to explore new possibilities of movement, we limit our range of expression. I constantly challenge my students to explore new ways of moving while playing, and to correlate them with minute differences in the quality of sound. Through my experience, I have found that when students discover the power of becoming aware of minute differences in their movement, it is not only their sound that changes, but also their coordination, and overall technical proficiency. The most fascinating aspect for me in approaching teaching in this manner, is that my students come to not only discover their personal involvement in the communication of a musical composition, and their ability to efficiently express it on their instrument, but they also very often gain self-confidence and imagination. The benefits of body awareness also help them in the prevention of injury, and in the healing after a disabling injury.”

Prof. Uri Vardi teaching Feldenkrais Method for iClassical Academy:

 

Uri Vardi

Uri Vardi studied at the Rubin Academy in Tel Aviv, was an Artist Diploma student at Indiana University, and earned his Master’s degree from Yale University. His teachers have included Janos Starker, Aldo Parisot, Eva Janzer, and Uzi Wiesel. Uri Vardi has specialized in the Feldenkrais Method, for which he received the 1999 UW-Madison Arts Institute Faculty Development Award. He completed a Feldenkrais Practitioners Training and was certified by the Feldenkrais Guild of North America and by the International Feldenkrais Federation as an official practitioner in 2003. For the last five years, Vardi has created a new course at UW – Madison: ” Feldenkrais for Performing Artists”. In 2012, Vardi was awarded the UW Art Institute Emily Mead Baldwin Award to create a Program for Somatic Education in the Performing Arts at UW-Madison.