Hammer & Nail“Practice makes…perfect!

I have to say that I completely disagree with this commonly used saying! I have yet to meet the perfect musician or hear the perfect performance. At the very best, practice makes progress and worst, incorrect practice just makes problems!

So why does the expression “practice makes perfect” roll so easily off the tongue when it might not be so technically correct? The reason is simple: repetition. We’ve been repeating this saying over and over since the 16th century! That is a lot of repetition!

As discussed in earlier articles, remembering important information is a challenge. Helping our brains and those of our students to retain concepts in our long-term memory requires a lot of deliberate effort. The three main methods that help us achieve long-term memory can be summed up as PRS: Patterns, Repetition and Stimulus.

In this article we will focus on how good quality repetition leads to progress in remembering.

Knocking the Nail on the Head

Practice can be likened to knocking a nail into a piece of wood with a hammer. It takes lots of  [···]

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PuzzleIn last month’s article, we discussed the secret of moving new information from our short-term memory into our long-term memory: PRS!

Okay, so here’s a quick memory test: can you remember what PRS stood for? No? Yes? Just in case you need reminding; Patterns, Repetition and Stimulus! (Link to part 1)

This month, I would like to focus on using “patterns” to help not only ourselves but our students to deeply embed important learnt information into our long-term memory.

The Big Mental Jigsaw!

The long-term memory works to connect new information to that which was previously learnt. A bit like slotting in a new piece of jigsaw to the sections previously solved. Jumping to a completely abstract concept can be a very challenging leap for both learner and teacher and best avoided. Better teaching is to build on what the student already understands. This is the concept behind grades or levels in music education, providing a gentle and systematic approach to learning based on progressively growing the students knowledge and skills.

When introducing a new idea in a lesson, can we  [···]

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PRSLet me come clean with you: I’m an addict! I’m completely addicted to learning!

But isn’t it frustrating when we keep forgetting things that we want to remember and yet we can’t forget unimportant matters from our past.

So why do our brains forget? And more importantly, how can we teach our minds and the minds of our music students to remember the important things? [···]

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