Thursday, December 18, 2008

Natural Learning Article in Music Education Journal

In this months Music Educators Journal (December 2008, page 42. It is online at find a library that has a subscription!) there is an interesting article about the Natural Learning Process.  Ellen Criss has distilled Daniel Kohut's Musical Performance: Learning Theory and Pedagogy down to 5 steps in a nice chart:  Observe, Form a Mental Image, Imitate, Trial and Error, Practice.   
Ellen also made some interesting observations about current teaching practice and particular ways we can get in the way of this process.  If your students are having difficulty following your directions it maybe the directions are getting in the way.  The real focus should be on the goal.
I have another connection.  This proposed process sounds an awful lot like the Inner Game books.  The Inner Game of Tennis is about silencing the inner critic and focusing on the goal.  When we as teachers spend too much time on the technical side of the craft with students we are bringing that inner critic to the surface and creating problems.  
What we should really be doing is providing kids with great examples and providing goals.
Hmmm.  Sounds like I will have some rereading and thinking to do this break.


Mike Saville said...

Roger, that's a really interesting post. I'll be looking up that article.

It's really what the main thrust of my site is about. There is simply not enough consideration given to the process of practice. Students mindlessly start to play without any prior preparation, visualisation or goal in mind.

Thanks for your blog, I've been following for a number of months and will add it to my links section - perhaps if you like the content on my site you might do the same?

Roger Whaley said...


I have been reading you as well. Consider yourself added!