Dr. Damjana Bratuz
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Dr. B. is beyond any doubt an extraordinary professor and woman! And it is with pleasure that I complete this "evaluation", of sorts.

The first lesson I learned from Dr. B. was her teaching philosophy: "Give a man a fish and you've fed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you've fed him for a lifetime." Dr.B. has not taught me jury pieces only, over the last three years. She has given me the tools so I can learn myself. She has taught me to understand that learning a piece of music involves more than easy fingering and correct notes. She has made me feel where the music goes and to bring out what the composer intended. I am not there to show off myself. I am simply the medium through which the music, itself, shows off.

Dr. B. is the only piano teacher I know of (aside from those who have studied with her) who expects her students to read. And she teaches us to "imitate" other professionals – figure skaters, surgeons, watch makers and crane operators, TV directors and motorcyclists – to learn balance and coordination, control over the large units of our bodies, focus and opposition. I have learned as much by analogy as I have by example. Through this method, Dr. B. integrates life and life skills into her students' playing – and thinking!
By involving herself in more than just the Faculty of Music (for example the Centre for Theory and Criticism, the Departments of English, Italian and Film), I believe Dr. B. has so much more to offer than simply being a "good piano teacher". Many applied music teachers will profess, "Music is my life!" I believe this is not so with Dr. B. Life is her life. And she plants this seed into each of her students. Whether that seed falls on "fertile soil" or not depends on the student for, as Zen said, "When the student is ready, the teacher appears."

Dr. B.'s first hand knowledge of European, American and Canadian cultures teaches us to appreciate the important aspects of life. She has great insight and I am disappointed that none of her suggestions for an improved faculty have ever been put into practice.

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to study with Dr. Bratuz. I feel the best of my education during my four years was due primarily to her. For it was Dr. B. who encouraged me to become involved outside the faculty as well as within it. And it was Dr. B. who showed me the correlations between music and the other aspects of my life.

I wish her all the best in her well-deserved retirement!

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