Jonathan Crow is a familiar face to Canadian music and symphony lovers who are fans of his
New Orford String Quartet and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, where he is concertmaster.
As assistant professor of violin at McGill University, Crow knows the value of nurturing young talent. He was just 19 when he joined the Montreal Symphony as associate principal second violin, only to win the associate concertmaster’s chair five months later.
Crow travels to Calgary to teach Mount Royal Conservatory’s Academy for Gifted Youth violinsts, and this summer marks his second year as faculty for our Morningside Music Bridge summer training program.
Question: What’s your teaching philosophy?
Jonathan Crow: The most important thing in teaching is to teach to what the kids need. I’m not a fan of a whole system. There’s many different schools of teaching: Russian, the Franco-Belgian school. For me, while these are great to know about, I think it’s important that you teach to what the students need. If you’re talking technically, everybody has different sizes, different lengths of arms. You find a way to teach technique that fits the body type. You find a way to teach the music that isn’t just inflicting your own ideas upon students but helping them to discover their ideas, and how to make choices about things musically instead of just reciting by rote what they hear from their teacher.
Question: You’ve come to teach at MMB for two years now. What makes this program special?
Jonathan Crow: I think the idea of having people from all across the world learning from each other is important and I think it’s important that we have great teachers here. But it’s just as important that the kids are learning from each other. We have master classes every day. The kids from Canada hear kids from the U.S. hear kids from Poland hear kids from China playing. We all learn different ways of approaching music and we all learn from each other. I think having a critical mass of players and teachers and mentors from all around the world gives us so many opportunities to learn in different ways.