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Learning Styles and the Importance of Critical Self-Reflection

The belief in learning styles is so widespread, it is considered to be common sense. Few people ever challenge this belief, which has been deeply ingrained in our educational system. Teachers are routinely told that in order to be effective educators, they must identify & cater to individual students' learning styles; it is estimated that around 90% of students believe that they have a specific learning style but research suggests that learning styles don't actually exist! This presentation focuses on debunking this myth via research findings, explaining how/why the belief in learning styles is problematic, and examining the reasons why the belief persists despite the lack of evidence.

Dr. Tesia Marshik is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Her research interests in educational psychology include student motivation, self-regulation, and teacher-student relationships.




Recent posts

Rate of Development Part 2

I went into the bowing development class with a healthy appreciation for the separate challenges the left hand and right hand face.  Getting both sides of the body to work together in a coordinated fashion is no small feat!  Furthermore, the idea of the "one point" lesson is a cornerstone of Suzuki philosophy.  Skills are developed by being broken down to simple, more manageable, tasks.

So the concept of bow exercises to develop the right hand was not new to me.  The breakthrough moment for me was why they are so important.  Early on in the course the instructor made the observation: "The left hand and right hand develop at different rates."  It was such a simple observation that I couldn't believe the thought had never occurred to me!

This really made me rethink my whole "three player" approach when working with students.  All three players must work together, yes.  But it's also possible that maybe one of the players isn't quite ready for a …

Rate of Development Part 1

I took a bowing workshop taught by Cathy Lee a few weeks ago.  It was fantastic.  Totally worth going even if you don't specifically play the violin.

What I love about teacher development courses is that often the thing you "get" out of the class isn't necessarily a new idea.  It will be an idea or ideas that were already floating around in your head and the course helps to pluck them, lay them out and organize them into an applicable teaching strategy.  For example, you may know that your students need phrasing work and you may have dabbled in trying to teach phrasing.  But the person teaching your development course may have found a way to logically approach the massive concept that is musical phrasing.

The thing that stuck with me the most at the end of this bowing course was the idea of development rate.  Something that I often discuss with students is the idea of the "three players."  In order to play a difficult section you have to realize that there…

The San Diego Suzuki Institute is now open!

We are very pleased to be able to announce that 2017 registration is now open.

It was a long road transitioning SDSI from its predecessor, Strings by the Sea, into its current form. Everything from class offerings to finances had to be reassessed. We are very grateful for all the hard work the Strings by the Sea directors put into making their camp run successfully for twenty years. Glen Campbell and Karla Holland-Moritz paved the way for a lot of young musicians' careers with their vision.

We are excited to be able to continue their legacy with this new Suzuki institute. Having a registered Suzuki institute will allow for new opportunities for the local community. We are hoping to not only provide a quality experience for the students attending the institute but to also provide teacher training avenues for the teachers in the area.

So here's hoping for a smooth first year and we look forward to meeting everyone!

For more information about the San Diego Suzuki Institute…

Why Play Games When Practicing?

People often underestimate how much mental power it takes in order to practice a musical instrument.  The challenges of the instrument aside, even just deciding simple things like how many times is "enough" can wear you down.  This is especially true when the students are young.  Almost any child will decide he has done something "enough" after two or three repetitions tops.  This is usually in direct conflict with the parent who knows that he has not done said task nearly enough.

Games can not only remove the charged emotional elements but they also have the power to draw the participants closer together.  Games are a social experience that present a challenge outside of a regular comfort zone.  While a student may only "feel" like doing two or three repetitions, throwing a number five on a dice pushes the student to do just a bit more.  The act of trying to overcome that challenge is more of a bonding experience than someone just telling the student wha…

Fluidity

I've practiced martial arts for over a decade.  I've blogged about this concept before but for those that haven't read those posts: I strongly feel that martial art and music practice pair well together.  There are a lot of crossover skills between the two.  You can read more about that here.

Something that I've really come to appreciate while practicing Tai Chi is the idea of fluidity.  With music it is often all too easy to give yourself the lofty goal of "sounding like the recording."  We inaccurately assume that so long as we figure out the notes and play it as fast as the recording it will sound "as good" as what we heard.  Unfortunately, this usually just leads to us sounding sloppy.  Playing something quickly is not the same thing as playing something fluidly.

The nice thing about Tai Chi is that there's less temptation to give yourself such lofty goals.  There's no "recording" that we are trying to imitate.  You can either …

TEDxSydney - Richard Gill - The Value of Music Education

Music educator Richard Gill argues the case for igniting the imagination through music and for making our own music. In this talk, he leads the TEDxSydney audience through some surprising illustrations of the relationship between music and our imagination.

Richard Gill has been Music Director of the Victorian Opera Company since its inception in 2006. He has also been Artistic Director of OzOpera, Artistic Director/Chief Conductor of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and Adviser for the Musica Viva in Schools Program. 

Currently the Artistic Director of the Sydney Symphony's Education Program, Richard has frequently conducted for Opera Australia and OzOpera, Meet the Music (SSO), Discovery concerts (Sydney Sinfonia); Ears Wide Open (MSO), and Canberra, Queensland and Tasmanian symphony orchestras. 

Richard's many accolades include an Order of Australia Medal, the Bernard Heinze Award, an Honorary Doctorate from the Edith Cowan University of Western Australia, Hon. Doc. (ACU), and t…