I’ve had the greatest teachers throughout my life.

Teacher
God. My faith reminds me everyday to be humble and grateful, to love, to share, to give.

My parents taught me you can learn something from anyone, from anything. They tell me to never stop learning. They always tell me becoming a great human being is far more important than being a becoming a great artist.

The legendary pedagogue Dorothy DeLay taught me how to perform, how to communicate what I want to say.

Donald Weilerstein taught me the magic of sound, how sound carries through the molecules in the air and touches the audience.

Cho-Liang “Jimmy” Lin taught me poise, charm, and that sometimes simplicity is sublime.

I love sharing what I’ve learned and also figuring things out together with my students. The “ah-ha” moments that my students allow me to experience with them with a musical or personal breakthrough is truly the greatest gift.

Here are a few of my basic principles that I try to instill in my students. Teaching someone how to teach themselves is the best lesson.

  1. Identify the problem then find a solution. It helps greatly to record yourself while practicing. Listen objectively and critically.
  2. Playing out of tune is not an option. It’s like writing with misspelled words. Close enough is not good enough. Only a perfectly in-tune note will ring to its fullest potential.
  3. Do not practice mindlessly. Efficiency, efficiency, efficiency. I cannot stress enough the importance of quality over quantity. A human brain cannot focus for 8 hours of practicing. Don’t practice your mistakes.
  4. If you are going to communicate, you need to have something to say. Figure out who you are, then continue to evolve.
  5. Be vulnerable. Sharing music is one of the most personal things in the world. Emote, express, don’t merely present.

Yoon is a violin faculty at The Mason Gross School of Music at Rutgers University.