Connect 1

The Field of Play

Thinking about the element of connectedness at the heart of extreme learning has encouraged me to reflect upon the multidisciplinary approach which can be helpful in instrumental teaching. Essential might be a better word as, when dealing with an abstract language such as music, connections to more visual, tangible, verbal and experiential areas can switch on many lights. Pupils hobbies represent a ready source of comparisons.

As practice has been in my thoughts (managerial and parent feedback still winging its way to me on a draft guide to home practice) I’ll start there. Most beginners, left to their own devices, would equate practising to playing all recently learned tunes, in their entirety and possibly in order. Turning the conversation to sport can shed a great deal of light on the subject. If you ask those who have ever participated in sports, “what is the difference between training and taking part in a game?” an articulate series of responses is often not far off. The following points usually come up: *

In training/practising:

  • Stopping and starting is normal
  • Individual techniques are singled out for repeated practice
  • Things do not have to take place at performance speed – in fact doing so can prevent mastering them
  • Discussion during training is to be encouraged – even if it stops the action completely for a few moments
  • Preparation is taking place to rule out accident, injury
  • The amount of breaks taken can range from zero to several – but the point is always to rest in the hope of better performance in the next activity

In a game/performance:

  • You endeavour not to stop
  • Individual techniques flow together – hopefully as reflexes
  • Performance speed is carefully selected and sustained
  • The time for discussion has past, and winning/entertaining the onlookers is the main objective
  • Preparation has already taken place to avoid the kind of uncertainty which leads to or amplifies nervousness
  • There is generally only one interval in a concert – how do you think most pupils like to spend it?

(a) relaxing the mind and hands for the second half
(b) running about squealing and quaffing high-octane juice

 * this would have been better conveyed in table form but the table in the previous post did not emerge emerged as hoped – has anyone had succes with importing tables – what’s that? Ikea?

One thought on “Connect 1”

  1. Really interesting post. I’d like to see how a pupil might pick up on an extreme learning project with a music focus.

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