Monthly Archives: January 2014

Blocked and Spaced Repetition

Recently I was watching television when a commercial break interrupted my program. Commercials are annoying at best, but this set of five commercial spots really got under my skin. This is because one of the commercials played three times, not

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Posted in Music Education

Repetition for Music Skill Development

The inflexible and automatic knowledge gained through repetition is the foundation of expert performance, but be warned—repeat carefully! The learning brain does not distinguish between good and poor habits but learns whatever we repeat. Repetition creates permanence, and habits are difficult

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Posted in Music Education

Are Pianists the Super-Athletes of the World?

Physiologist Homer Smith cites skilled piano playing as one of the pinnacles of human achievement because of the “demanding muscle coordination of the fingers, which require a precise execution of fast and complex physical movements”. This remarkable human ability provides

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Distributing Practice Over Time

“Sir, when should I practise? Practise only on the days that you eat.” -Shin’ichi Suzuki Memory is more effective when learning is distributed over a period of time rather than in one hit. This process of memory consolidation is known

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Posted in Music Education, Uncategorized

A Key Indicator of Future Musical Progress

Having an explicit long-term commitment is a key indicator of future progress. In a study conducted by Australian music educator Dr Gary McPherson, children were asked how long they thought they might persist with learning their instrument. The options ranged

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Should parents insist on regular music practice?

Should parents insist on regular music practice? On the one hand, parental pressure can destroy a child’s sense of motivation: if the child takes the initiative, it is best not to interfere. On the other hand, commitment is fundamental to

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To Become An Exceptional Adult Musician…

To become an exceptional adult musician almost certainly requires an early start because of the time requirement, particularly for physically demanding instruments such as the piano and violin. Starting young can also set in motion a number of motivational conditions

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