I have been pleasantly surprised at how well the chapters of this book have related to my field of instrumental music.  Chapter 4, “How Do Students Develop Mastery?” explores how we move from novice to expert and the various steps of consciousness/competence.  This chapter made me stop and re-think how I learned what I know (and now comes automatically, or “unconscious competence”), and if I am as effective as I can be as a teacher. 

We as teachers often don’t put ourselves in the students’ frames of mind or consider how transfer of knowledge affects their connection with new information.  It is important to remember that as musicians we are spending years honing our craft.  Most of us are always in flux between the third and fourth stages, “Conscious Competence” and “Unconsious Competence”.  As with athletes, musicians find it difficult to remain at the latter stage (the “expert” stage), without consistent practice to maintain technical and physical skills.  “Use it or lose it” is very applicable to keeping musical skills sharp and we all find ourselves in need of polishing a passage or skill if we’ve been away from it for too long.  Muscle memory fades and brings us back to reality, forcing us to slow it down, use the metronome and tuner, and check our musical interpretation. 

Recognizing the effect of Cognitive Load, we usually focus on rehearsing one musical skill at a time.  One tool featured in Google Apps is the ability to create a game.  In my Chapter 4 summary, I created a Google flash card game which can help reinforce musical terms.  While most of the time musicians are developing technical or musical skills, there are times when basic drill-downs such as flash cards are necessary.  The flash cards were created in Google Docs and the process was very simple.  For extra learning benefit, students can be taught to create the flashcards themselves.  Google flash cards adds a fun spin to an otherwise tedious study method.

This chapter gives us a different perspective on the stages of learning, and helps identify the skill level our students have attained.

Sally Heuss
10/22/2012 03:45:19 am

It’s neat to see how the different stages in the ‘development of mastery’ are applicable to so many different fields and areas of interests. Your flash cards on Google seem like a great learning tool! I could see students enjoying the new and fun approach to learning with the Google Apps.

10/22/2012 10:24:10 pm

I agree with your comment Daina that students need to practice the skills that are taught. A great way to help retain the information is by using the Google flashcards to help practice the concepts. I actually wish I had Google flashcards when I was in high school and college so that I didn't have to spend countless hours creating by hand 3 x5 cards. This concept seemed quick and easy.


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