Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Learning Styles

Things haven't been going well with piano lessons lately. It's not for lack of practice on my part - it's more like I've hit a wall or something. My piano teacher thinks it finally comes down to learning styles.

I'm primarily an auditory learner. I learn best by hearing. I enjoy listening to the radio; once I hear something, I remember it, etc. (This is a little unusual, except perhaps in my family.) However, to play the piano, you need to use kinesthetic learning (remembering body movements) and visual learning as well.

The catch is, that while I can struggle to visually remember things, like the black and white pattern of the keys, I really have a hard time with my kinesthetic memory. One of the new pieces I'm working on starts with a really lovely arpeggio in E. My teacher pointed out that the last three times I played it, I used different fingering each time. My fingers aren't remembering!

So, on the theory that you can teach an old dog new tricks (did I just call myself an old bitch?); I'm to work on my visual and kinesthetic memories. We're setting aside the pieces that I've been working on and start on pieces at a sight-reading level. (Grade 3 instead of Grade 7). I'm to work primarily on sight reading (visual), teaching my fingers the patterns they need to remember, working hands separately (kinesthetic) and working on phrasing (auditory). One step forward, two steps back.

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