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Teacher and Musician Challenge 7

Teacher and Musician Challenge 7 - get fussy

“Progress over time” has become the Loch Ness Monster of the education world – some people claim to have seen it and others are desperately looking for it.  In the search (for progress, not Nessie), teachers are often encouraged to focus on pace to achieve the ‘rapid progress’ that lesson observation pro formas desire.  It’s safe to say that speeding lessons up is more likely to leave pupils dazed and confused than it is to generate real learning and the progress that goes with it.  This week’s #TandMchallenge seeks to redress that balance.

The challenge: get fussy

Next time you find yourself thinking “oh, they’ve got the hang of that, let’s move on” stop the inclination to progress and get fussy instead.  Ridiculously fussy.  Get fussy about articulation, timbre, intonation, breathing, phrasing, posture and anything else you can think of.  Make it the goal of your lesson to generate the most perfect performance you possibly can.  Who cares if your next task would have them using two hands on the keyboard if all they’re doing with one hand is playing the right notes at the right time.
Getting fussy is getting musical.  It’s getting musical in the same way that a professional performer may spend days perfecting a six note phrase.  It’s getting musical in the same way that a professional composer is unlikely to settle for his/her first draft.
Get fussy in one of your lessons and let me know if you spot progress (or Nessie) in your classroom as a result.