Blog Archives

Playing Music by Ear

Playing by ear is less frequently encouraged in traditional music lessons, which is surprising given that most musicians would love to develop this skill. Why is the ability to play without music considered second rate to sight-reading? For many students

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Playing Music from Memory: Pt 2 of 3

Verbal mediation enhances musical ‘big picture’ thinking and provides a structure for learning from memory. Some people visualise the musical score as they play. Others sing the main melody in their head, imagining the contours of the music. Rehearsing the

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Learning (Music) Modes

There are various ways of practising and performing music, and these are processed in different parts of the brain. Reading music is predominantly a left-hemisphere action. Playing by ear, improvising, playing from memory, and playing in one’s imagination activate more

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Sleep Learning

Sleep well, think well. – John Medina Since the year 2000 Matthew Walker, now with U.C. Berkeley’s Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory, has been conducting experiments to determine whether humans consolidate learning during sleep. In one study, two groups of subjects

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Observing Models

Students must practise how to practise, but first they need a model from whom to learn. How many students have the opportunity to watch their teacher practise, and how many teachers observe their students as they practise? We learn a

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Slow Practice, Fast Progress!

Maintaining improvement and making a skill permanent require slow steady work that probably forms new connections. – Norman Doidge Sergei Rachmaninoff said, “The most efficient manner in learning to memorise a piece seems to be the one which proceeds in

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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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