"As a teacher, I try to inspire a lifetime of learning and discovery."

Tabera Zimmermann
(Foto: MArco Borggreve)

When does a gift become a talent? And what has to happen for it to evolve into an artistic development? A reflection by Prof. Tabea Zimmermann.

There is probably no better task than to accompany highly talented young musicians on their way. The question of what has to happen for a talent to become a true artistic personality is not easy to answer; the factors that can play a role are too varied. In addition to a strong love of music, sensitive ears, a desire to discover and learn, a quick perception, a good mixture of adaptability and stubbornness, joy in making music together, flexibility in the fingers, joy in practicing and the ability to recognize opportunities that present themselves, what is needed above all is recognition and encouragement from empathetic and inspiring teachers as well as from the family and school environment. Impeding factors such as excessive expectations, misguided striving for perfection, envy and lack of understanding from others, impatience, excessive demands and exaggerated self-centeredness must be balanced out.

As a teacher, I try to balance the stronger talents and the less strong qualities first and to stimulate lifelong learning and discovery. I place great trust in the young people to be able to integrate already existing and newly learned skills into their individual personalities and to grow from them. They are encouraged to try things out, to make mistakes and learn from them, to recognize and develop their own potential. I see performance opportunities on a limited scale as a great chance to test the courage of one's own interpretation and communication skills. In doing so, I find it important to gather only good experiences if possible and not to take the less good ones too seriously.

Because of my own experiences as a highly gifted young person - who often did not 'belong', who had to find and pave her own way due to a lack of role models in her social environment - I can offer advice beyond the instrumental lessons and give encouragement when crises arise. I remember my own teachers as good role models. They gave me a wealth of skills that I could expand, question and develop without ever having to 'erase' anything. I bring this approach to my work at the HfMDK and am happy to be part of this university community.

Since this fall, I have been mentoring two young violists as part of the Young Academy, and I would also like to strengthen the chamber music between the young people from the middle voice. To paraphrase Robert Schumann, "Sing diligently in the choir, namely middle voices. This makes you musical."

»Ever since I met Tabea, my perspective towards music has changed tremendously. It was two years ago when I first played for Tabea. It was an eye-opening and liberating experience. Not only had she taught me her ways of thinking but she guided me to be able to express my thoughts into music. Even if she may disagree with my ideas, it is never discouraging, but she rather challenges me to develop my thoughts into a more convincing idea. In my lessons, we play for each other. She makes music with me so that I can naturally understand her ways of viewing the music without saying much. Lessons are never intimidating but fun. It is an event that I always look forward to. Now I strongly feel like a musician with not just musicality but a toolbox full of tools that allows myself to bring the music into life. I am very grateful that I was able to have Tabea during my preparation for the ARD competition. Preparing for competitions can be very stressful. Even under immense pressure, she helped me to be in a mentality where I can really focus on the most important thing, which is the music itself. That helped me from over-complicating the music that I was working on. The one thing that she emphasized the most was, "believe in your music". That really gave me confidence and joy to perform each and every round of the competition.«Haesue Lee, Viola
Porträt von Haesue Lee mit ihrer Bratsche
(Foto: Daniel Delang/BR)


The South Korean violist Haesue Lee won the 1st prize and the audience prize of the ARD Music Competition in 2023 in the subject viola. In the summer semester she completed her master studies with Prof. Tabea Zimmermann at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin. Since October she continues her studies with Prof. Tabea Zimmermann at the Kronberg Academy.

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