So, Itzhak Perlman, what kind of a teacher are you?

Anyone who has ever been interviewed by Israeli media will flinch at the directness of the question, Itzhak takes it with practised equanimity.

What kind of a teacher are you? “I think an okay one,” he laughed a sonorous, free laugh, and not for the last time in our conversation. “I’m not old fashioned; I don’t believe in forcing students, and I remember how much I hated practicing myself. My first teacher would blame my parents if I didn’t play well, ‘You don’t make him practice!’ Even today, I hate practicing, but at least I understand that it’s important.”

perlman juilliard



How do you identify talent? “Sometimes it’s enough to look them in the eye. Once a child understands what he’s playing, I can identify that in his playing. The really talented have special instincts and an ear that reacts in a way that others don’t.”


Can anybody learn to play? If I practice 12 hours a day, will my zero talent turn into something? “Maybe. They say that a good teacher is measured by what he manages to get out of average talent, not out of geniuses. Sometimes, you teach someone for two years, and suddenly, during a lesson, something happens, this thing that you’ve been waiting for breaks out. It can bring me to tears. But zero talent is maybe a bit of a problem,” he laughs aloud again.

More here on Ynet.


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  • Good quote (talking about North Carolina):

    “I know from up-close what discrimination looks like; I’ve seen it my entire life as a person with disabilities. How would I live with myself if I didn’t say something? I’m not ready to be on the wrong side of history. I couldn’t allow myself. I have a special obligation to speak out against injustices.”

    Because you’re the most famous violinist in the world or because you’re a Jew?

    “Because I’m a human being.”

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