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The Nature of Learning

 

29 June 2017
On the Birthday of Bernard Herrmann


This 11:26 film will compress your Music education into questions and perhaps answers.  Click here for STORMSummate.

Every so often, I hear from fellow Music-makers who have played since the 4th grade.  They have experienced much, learned much, and teach much.  But let’s be objective rather than subjective, locked into any one school of thought.  Is there a better way?

It’s common to think that the number of years that you’ve been doing something would have an impact on your skill level… but study after study in areas of everything from basketball to woodworking to shooting to painting proves that it’s just not the case.  
 
If it were the case, we’d see more 90-year-olds in NASCAR, but we don’t.
 
Since I started playing baseball almost 50 years ago…before MBL players were born… I SHOULD be better than them, but I’m not.  In fact, it’s more common to see people in any sport grind out rep after rep for year after year, only to plateau or get worse, instead of getting better.
 
So, if the number of years that a Musician, for instance, has been playing, teaching, learning, writing doesn’t matter, what does?
 
It’s the quality, type, and frequency of the practice that you do.
 
Perfect technique, frequent sessions, and deliberate practice focusing on specific aspects of your technique will get you quicker, better results than just slugging it out over time.  

Practice makes Permanent, not perfect.
 
This is fantastic, exciting, liberating news, because it means that it doesn’t take decades to become great!  With the right tools, you can do it in a few minutes per day and see dramatic changes in just a couple of weeks.
 
Focusing on perfect technique lets your brain develop an automatic default where you’re thinking of Music and not the “how-to-make-it.”

You should see the emphasis on “perfect” as a gift.  It means that you can get more benefit out of 5-10 minutes of perfect practice per day than you can from an hour or more per week of swinging at a tree with an unsharpened axe.

So check out that film, share it with colleagues.  Ask yourself the questions it will stir with an opened-mind.  See the whole thing from concept to completion and imagine what you can bring.

Click here for STORMSummate.

It’s incumbent on us to be the game-changers!

Godspeed!  S

 

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STEPHEN MELILLO, Composer

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