Professor of Performance and Artistic Director of Stamps Ensembles
The Viola Project by Jodi Levitz
This article was published in the Journal of the American Viola Society, Spring 2009 edition. Click here to read the PDF version of "In the Studio/Student Life - The San Francisco Conservatory Viola Project".
2001-2017 Professor of Viola and Chamber Music, Chair of Chamber Music and Strings, San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Co-Artistic Director Zephyr International Chamber Music Course & Festival
2011 recipient of the Sarlo Family Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching
For those who wish to audition to join my studio, I’d like to share with you my teaching philosophy.
My primary goal as a teacher is to ensure my students develop the intellectual and physical skills to realize their full potential as performers in order to enjoy a happy, productive musical life.
As string department chair, I defined these student learning goals (which I believe in passionately!):
develop the technical resources to consistently and fluently express complex emotional ideas; to learn and perform works maturely
develop solid and consistent fundamental skills on their instrument
learn how to practice correctly for a lifetime of learning and growth.
have a dynamic (healthy) and sustainable concept of technique that will prevent injury long-term
practice conscious artistic decision-making, as well as develop their curiosity and unique drive into a personal voice
have knowledge of performance techniques of different periods and know how to give an educated and informed interpretation
learn to act and conduct themselves in a professional manner
develop a strong professional drive towards their own artistic development as well as a desire to share music with those around them
I believe the major causes of frustration, burnout, and stage fright are physical tension coupled with the lack of a true deep understanding of the basics of technique. Injury and pain can be prevented by mastering a healthy approach to playing. My most critical responsibility is to teach students proper practice habits and a healthy approach to technique that is necessary for the realization of their musical vision.
It is my sincere desire for my students to enter into the professional world as knowledgeable, yet curious, artists with the capability to always grow, learn, and explore. I am very proud to say that many, many, of my students have realized this goal.
Click here to check out the websites of some of my former students
“….. four pearls of wisdom from Jodi Levitz buried in one of my scores:
1) practice musically
2) love your sound - "RING"
3) practice in slowmotion, not slowly
4) be careful - practice makes permanent, not perfect……”
- Mattie Kaiser, Viola Student