Research into the theory of deliberate practice confirmed that the strategy has the potential to improve both student performance and student mindset about what makes a musician.To assess the impact of the strategy, each Music teacher focused on a case study of a selected individual student, rather than the whole class.Music can block out these distractions as long as the music is not distracting itself. You think about the words and not your math assignment. Avoid songs that include lots of changes and contrasts.
When I approached A’s instrumental teacher, he identified specific strengths and weaknesses for the student – his notational and pitch skills were excellent, but rhythmic skills were a problem.
So, I knew what technical weaknesses needed attention. The instrumental teacher identified exercises from a percussion tutoring book – – then demonstrated how the required rhythms could be played on single notes.
As two school-based teachers of Music at Craigslea State High School, a large suburban secondary school in Queensland, Genevieve and Teresa were concerned about the quality of the students’ home practice of chosen instruments, including voice.
Engaging students in individual practice that is beneficial to the quality of the performance is a critical responsibility.
Student A played the rhythms giving strong emphasis to the unexpected beats, then again so that his teacher could correct and refine technique for each exercise.
The teacher clapped and counted while the student played.Both teachers believed that the practice by students at home needed improvement, especially the technical skills, such as rhythm, progression, or systematic elimination of errors.Homework is a familiar part of schooling and is recommended within the school’s pedagogical framework, (Pitler & Stone, 2012).It is not unusual for teachers of Music to form a close working relationship in secondary schools.It comes with the territory and their experiences of collegiality and developing musicianship in orchestras, bands or vocal groups.Clearly this was a critical stage of the process of putting a solution to the problem.Hence, there was more attention to the exercises, using staccato on one note, with spoken rhythms being demanded so that understanding and accuracy were achieved.Despite being so traditional and so necessary to the study of musical instruments, homework by Craigslea music students suffered from a lack of discipline.To address the problem, the teachers decided to focus on the nature of homework – practice, in this case – thereby addressing the problem, as well as meeting the school’s requirement for collaborative professional development with peers.Student A’s interest was caught by the modelling and degree of importance we were giving to the need for deliberate practice of the specific exercises.In class, I hammered (metaphorically) the benefits of deliberate, solitary practice with all students so that strong communication of the same message came from both teachers.