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Mastering Mastery

Any craft demands mastery.  But what is mastery?

A master chef does not simply make chicken once and then never again.  Mastery neither occurs from only making chicken nor does it occur from constantly learning new recipes.  It's a balance of both.

Mastery is an almost indefinable combination of many things.  It means there's a willingness to still learn and an appreciation for details.  A true master chef, for example, understands everything there is to know about chicken.  What seasoning tastes good on it, how long it takes to cook on a stove, in a grill or baked.  Mastery of a craft means that there is enough of an understanding to draw out lessons or techniques from other experiences and apply them to what is going on right now.

The same applies to learning an instrument.  The goal should never be to learn as many pieces as quickly as possible.  The goal should be mastery.  Who cares if one student knows twelve pieces and the other knows ten?  What skills did the the student learn from those pieces?

In the Suzuki Method reviewing old pieces is a crucial facet.  The purpose is not to train robots or to waste time.  It's to help the student achieve mastery.  A student that has been playing for six months plays a very different Twinkle than a student that has been playing for six years.    

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