noteworth: the art of listening

The Art of Listening

JNET: “Listen for your mistakes. You’re to see if you can find them first and fix them before I must point them out to you.”

XYZ: “Why don’t you just stop me right away if I make a mistake?”

JNET: “I think it is a slower way to learn; to stop at every single mistake.”

If we were to stop at every single mistake then I wouldn’t be able to point at a pattern of mistakes. And yet it happens, my student will play a sequence of notes and then hit a screaming halt where we listen in silence; their big eyes staring at me for direction and validation.

JNET: “You know how to read music. Read the note.”

Sometimes the students stares further, begging for a quick answer. The gap of silence grows and I sit with it. I don’t care. Thinking shouldn’t have to be something awkward to be avoided. I invite my student to think. I have to get literal on them. Tell them to look at the paper and think. I also raise a paper to cover my face.

XYZ: “Just tell me!”

JNET: “That would be too easy. You know how to get to the answer and you want me to support you to be lazy. Come now. You are not a lazy person. Are you? Anyway, stop staring at me for the answer. Are there notes on my face?”

It takes a lot of patience to listen to mistakes. Teaching a student to be patient with their own self so that they can anticipate where their mistakes comes from is a lesson on self-awareness that a 6 year old can grasp yet a 16 year old may stumble over.

XYZ: “Wait… wait… don’t tell me. I got it under control.”

JNET: “Sure you don’t want me to point to the notes for you.”

XYZ: “No pointing! I can handle this.”

Sweet words from a mindful student. If you can listen to yourself and modify mistakes. If you can think for yourself and master a new piece, what in life can stop you for expressing something beautiful and on purpose?

There more to music lessons than notes.



~ by jnetsworld on February 22, 2010.


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