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Colleen Ferguson: “Learning Doesn’t End When You Get Your Diploma”


This interview delves into the multifaceted musical journey of Colleen Ferguson, an accomplished musician and dedicated educator. From her early introduction to the violin through the Suzuki Method at the age of three, Ms Ferguson’s passion for music blossomed under the guidance of influential mentors. The interview highlights her profound appreciation for luminaries such as Dr Shinichi Suzuki, her childhood Suzuki teachers, and esteemed professors at UT Austin and the University of Iowa.

Ms Ferguson expounds on her philosophy of teaching, emphasizing the belief that every student, regardless of age or level, can attain high levels of achievement through disciplined effort. Her commitment to nurturing well-rounded individuals extends beyond musical excellence, aiming to instill discipline, practice habits, and problem-solving skills in her students. The interview provides insights into the supportive and collegial atmosphere at Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK), where Ms Ferguson currently teaches. She underscores the importance of considering each student as a whole person and her delight in joining a faculty focused on student success.

Discussing her teaching demographics, Ms Ferguson primarily instructs college-level music education and performance majors, but her enthusiasm for teaching extends to private high school students of varying ages and skill levels. Notably, she expresses her joy in teaching any student genuinely interested in learning.

Practical advice for students preparing for recitals is shared, emphasizing self-care, regular self-assessment through recordings, and the value of performing for supportive audiences. Ms Ferguson provides valuable insights into her teaching techniques, advocating goal-oriented rather than time-oriented practice and fostering student independence and problem-solving skills.

The interview concludes with recommendations for technique books, urging continuous learning for teachers, and echoing the sentiment that teaching is an ever-evolving art. Colleen Ferguson’s parting advice for both students and teachers underscores the timeless importance of consistent practice, prioritizing time for learning, and finding joy in the shared journey of musical education. This interview serves as a testament to the enduring impact of dedicated mentors and the transformative power of music education.

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ISSN: 2792-8349

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International Journal of Music