Aaron Witek

Assistant Professor, Music Performance

Title

Teaching Philosophy

As an educator, my philosophy is to teach my students how to become the best versions of themselves while cultivating them into well-rounded and productive individuals. I aim to help my students become endorsers of music and become successful in their respective field of study. I hope to instill a lifelong love of music within each student and to produce an effective learning environment in which students will grow musically, personally and professionally.

My method of teaching guides the student to a solution rather than simply presenting the answer. Through asking questions students will develop a process of finding solutions that works for them. This encourages a personal connection between the student and the solution, which will result in a true understanding of the concept and the development of the ability to teach others.

Each student is unique and there is no single way of teaching that fits the needs of all individuals. I develop an approach that works best to educate each student by determining the type of learning style and relationship that will help me communicate best with him or her. Once this is established, the student and I will identify together his or her strengths and weaknesses and then develop a list of goals presenting the student a personalized and systematic plan aimed at achieving his or her maximum potential. This process consists of using a variety of pedagogical materials to support the student in a methodical manner.

Since it is common to see the studio take on the character traits of the major professor, being a role model and mentor to my students is imperative. I hold myself to the highest standards and do the same for my students while keeping their best interests in mind. I assess my students on many levels including their preparedness, participation and improvement, along with their use of critical thinking and sincere effort put towards their studies.

Listening as often as possible is key to effective teaching and learning within the field of music. Through listening, the students will develop a sense of what it is to be a proficient musician and help them to develop their own musical knowledge and voice. It is crucial that students be exposed to performances and performers both within the studio and outside the music school. I consistently encourage students to listen to professional recordings, recitals and performances, as well as participate in conferences and other musical events. I believe this promotes thought and self-evaluation, ultimately enhancing student’s learning through imitation and inspiration.

My approach to studio class incorporates the idea that everyone can learn from one another. Studio class will consist of student and guest performances, along with lectured topics delivered both by the students and myself. Such topics for the lectures will be based on performance preparation, historical topics, pedagogical topics, and entrepreneurial skills.

The environment I seek to develop in my studio is one that is nurturing, educational, supportive, individualized, and I aim to foster camaraderie and a sense of community among the members. I believe in implementing group tasks within the curriculum to help shape the environment and atmosphere in the studio. Activities that can help develop this are trumpet ensemble, orchestral repertoire classes, group fundamental lessons, group assignments and social studio gatherings.

The overall goal of my teaching philosophy is to produce well-rounded individuals, instill a lifelong love of music in every student, and create an effective performance medium in which students will grow not only musically, but also personally and professionally. Through these principles I strive to become a key mentor in their educational experience.