200 West 90th St, New York NY, 10024

Levels:Intermediate, Advanced
Experience:35 years
Rate:$100 / hr

Personal Statement

My teaching style is usually described by my students as quite different from that of any others they have studied with. I teach by using contagious enthusiasm, and I reward each successive approximation toward achieving a goal. Some use a peanut, but I find a simple “good!” suffices. I never degrade students, because that can do lasting damage. This approach to the psychology of teaching is based on my own experiences as a teacher and student, and on basic learning theory enunciated by B.F. Skinner decades ago. Technically, my approach is derived from the teachings of Dr. D.C. Dounis, a physician who based his approach on the actual workings of the human muscle system. This has the enormous advantage of rapid elimination of technical problems and making it feel physically easy to play. I specialize in treating pain problems. Countless players with pain go to doctors, chiropractors, try acupuncture, etc. to no avail, and resign themselves to a life of pain. Some even have to leave the profession. This is all so unnecessary. I have always been able to teach a student how to play without pain. I should have a video up shortly with some demonstrations. I also strongly emphasize phrasing and rhythmic structure. Teaching without phrasing is like teaching the words and rules of a foreign language without telling what the words mean.

Education / Training

The computer just erased everything I had written, so for right now only the very basics: I studied violin in Atlanta, New Haven (Yale), Giessen (Germany), and New York. My three primary teachers have been Marvin Morgenstern (violin and chamber music), Lotte Bamberger (chamber music), and the concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic under Bernstein- David Nadien (violin). They were all products of Dr. D.C. Dounis. My teaching is totally “Dounis” in approach. More than twenty years of Alexander Technique complement Dounis. Pain is your friend. It tells you you’re doing something wrong. I’ve never been unable to teach a student to play without pain.

Charles Johnston