A friend who is a pianist as well as a tango dancer sent me this. It’s from a book called Piano Notes, but I wonder if it could apply equally well to the teaching of tango (or perhaps any form of interpretative art)?
The greatest teacher does not impose an interpretation, but tries to find the way the student wishes to play and to improve the effectiveness of the interpretation. This is psychologically difficult for any teacher, who has naturally developed a set idea of the proper style of playing and of the correct interpretation and the temptation to force this on every student can be overwhelming. Trying to let the student’s personality reveal itself demands a renunciation on the part of the teacher, even sometimes an abdication of taste and of the legitimate prejudices of a lifetime.
Obviously, as my friend said, it assumes, of course, the student has reached a certain standard of proficiency already! (Until you can hit the right note there’s not much point in considering the how and when…)