Born into a family of musicians, Kari Tikkala has become an award-winning concert pianist in his career. His career as a musician has taught him much, which is now useful as a teacher. Kari believes that studies in music brings many benefits and much joy also to those who end up in careers in other industries.
Winning the Maj Lind Piano Competition in 1988. Performances in concert halls around Europe and also farther, all the way to Cuba.
Kari Tikkala’s gift was noticed at an early stage. At age seven he got a private teacher and this experience still affects his way of teaching.
– Something that has transferred from private tuition to my later work is, for example, that the important part is not always the thing you are studying, but also the way you get attached to it. My own teacher recognized well when I had a bad day. At those times he might, for example, produce a deck of cards and catch my attention with it. After this I was more able to concentrate on the thing at hand, Kari remembers.
It is important to treat every learner as an individual
Basic education in the arts is an education outside of school, mostly meant for children and young people, in different fields of art, which includes over 100,000 students yearly. The purpose is to give the students an opportunity to study art long-term, purposefully and in line with their own interests.
The education is governed by the national and academy-specific curriculum for the basic education of the arts. In addition to them, Kari has a personal curriculum for every student.
The aspiration to support every student’s learning individually is important to Kari but it also requires a lot of pedagogic professionalism and creativity.
The aspiration to support every student’s learning individually requires a lot of pedagogic professionalism and creativity.
– Different people learn in different ways and in the teaching of individuals every hour is part improvisation. It is important to create a safe environment for learning. During my lessons, my job is to find methods with which I will teach something to this exact student, this exact day, Kari says.
For him, hope, trust and safety are the starting points for everything in teaching and communication.
– While studying a subject of skill, you remove flaws and mend shortcomings, but you learn more by being supported and praised than by pointing out errors. It is important to keep hold of the joy in learning new skills. Especially with small children it is important to create a strong feeling that we are on the same side. If this does not succeed, learning will not happen.
You learn more by being supported and praised than by pointing out errors.
Art is an intrinsic value
There are many things about Kari. In addition to piano, he also teaches harpsichord and ensemble. In addition to Juvenalia in Espoo, he has teaching tasks at the Sibelius Academy where he works as a chamber pianist and as a coach for bachelor’s and master’s thesis students.
Kari considers the study and teaching of music to be an important thing in principle. Every student does not and does not have to become a professional musician. They can still gain skills during the lessons that will give them joy and advantage through life. In addition to music, the lessons teach the connection between different arts, even history and languages.
– For hundreds of years music has had a wonderful power to touch both players and listeners on an emotional level. Music gives you tools to build your own sense of self and brings the meaning to life that many have been missing during, for example, the coronavirus pandemic.
Music gives you tools to build your own sense of self and brings the meaning to life that many have been missing during, for example, the coronavirus pandemic.
Art and science are often placed facing each other but we need both and both are connected by creativity, according to Kari.
– New directions of development starts as if by accident, regardless of whether it is music or developing a vaccine.
He finds it important that high quality musical education in Finland is ensured also in the future, in both the basic education of the arts and on a college level. This is the reason why he has been involved in, through the Union for Music Teachers in Finland isot alkukirjaimet nimessä (Suomen musiikinopettajien liitto), commenting on the education policy report currently being prepared. In the report, directions are created also for the future of musical education.
– Art is an intrinsic value and that is why it is important that the government ensures the resources for art education. The value of working with teaching should be visible as money also to the teachers. Why does it mean that feeling a calling to a profession in Finland often means that it is not appropriate to demand decent compensation for your work?