"Can you pay attention to what is required? I doubt it."As a flute player I often dismissed that statement because I really felt that I was able to pay attention to what was required in order to play well. Now that I have grown far beyond the age of arrogance, I believe Hewitt's statement to be true. It has become my daily challenge to try to pay attention to what is required.
I ask my students to pay attention to a lot of things, and, they usually leave their lessons mentally exhausted if they take an active part in the paying of attention. When the active part of paying attention is "paid" by the teacher, and the student reacts to that attention passively, without full engagement of all the necessary senses (sight, sound, touch), it is usually the teacher who is exhausted after a lesson.
I find that it is humbling to ask myself, during my own practice time, to pay attention the way I ask my students to pay attention. If a violin student, for example, is struggling with finding the proper arrangements of half steps and whole steps necessary to play in tune in the key of F major, and shifting between the first position and the third position, it requires the same kind of attention for that student as it requires for me to find the proper arrangement of half steps and whole steps to play in tune in G-flat major and shifting around in the positions above 5th position on the violin.
Lately I have been asking my students to pay close attention to the position of their thumbs when shifting from position to position (so often the thumb, which is a very accurate tool for measurement up and down the neck of the violin, forgets that it is part of the hand). I have also been following my own advice, and have been trying to pay attention to my thumb during every shift. I have noticed that when I pay attention, my shifts are more accurate and more secure.
Children will more often follow the example of what their parents do rather than the example of what their parents say. Students will more often follow the example of what their teachers do rather than what their teachers say.
Here's another post concerning Stevens Hewitt's Oboe Method.