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Topic: Struggling with Multitasking  (Read 160 times)

Offline arih888

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Struggling with Multitasking
on: January 17, 2023, 09:31:20 PM
She is good with the notes, and can play HT well. However, when more layers of the song are added (ie: articulation, watching the LH for large jumps while playing HT, dynamics, lightness, arm and hand movements), she suddenly gets too overwhelmed. The panic is exacerbated further when I add a metronome, because she tends to play meticulously and slower than the recommended speed of songs.

I feel like it is common that after a song is played enough times, the player no longer pays too close attention to the notes or fingerings, because they become engrained as muscle memory. I'm not sure how to change her process of learning and practicing songs, I want to somehow "take her out of her mind", and teach her to approach songs in a more natural way.

By the way, she is a very hard worker, and practices lots every week. However, when she comes to the lessons, the songs don't feel natural, they feel more like she's trying hard to memorize information for a test and stresses over forgetting things that "she practiced at home".

Offline keypeg

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Re: Struggling with Multitasking
Reply #1 on: January 28, 2023, 02:35:20 PM
There is little information about "she" (months or years of lessons, started with you or transfer).  Are you teaching her to work in layers, where one set of skills in the music are made solid before the next one is added?  That it is not necessary to "perform" in front of the teacher producing a complete, polished, and professional sounding piece?  Have you taught how to work in sections of music, as well as adding layers progressively, and only up to the level of existing skills, when working on music?

Offline quantum

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Re: Struggling with Multitasking
Reply #2 on: January 31, 2023, 05:29:55 AM
I would actually encourage teaching about singletasking rather than multitasking. 

Multitasking workflow, is one that inherently welcomes distraction.  It operates under the guise that one is able to accomplish multiple tasks by allowing oneself to be constantly interrupted, and frequently diverting one's attention.  What comes into question, is the depth, quality, and long term stability of the work.  Multitasking is like candy - it tastes sweet, looks fun, but has little nutritional value.

However, I motion that singetasking is a far more effective means of work.  Singletasking is a workflow that inherently resists distraction, and instead works toward deep focus.  Singletasking encourages mindfulness, organization, efficiency, and creativity - the latter of which is a rather important quality in the study of music.  Singletasking allows one to tap into a sense of flow, flow leads to productivity, productivity leads to motivation, motivation allows one to enjoy work, which in turn allows one to get more work done.  This sense of accomplishment from getting work done creates an energized morale and reduces stress and frustration.

There is a difference between a constantly distracted and interrupted focus that is forced to haphazardly switch attention to different tasks, and an deep agile focus that is able to nimbly and strategically change direction following the demands of the task.  Singletasking creates the environment where this deep focus is able to flourish.  It is like a tennis player with agile footwork that is able to effectively manage movement across the entire court, all the while blocking out any distractions that may be occurring in the vicinity of the court.

What may be needed for this student, is to direct a sense of focus.  The student may be getting frustrated because she does not know how to manage focus.  You say the student is a hard worker, so tap into that quality.  Instead of presenting separate ideas of LH, RH, HT, jumps, articulation, touch, movement; present all these things as a single integrated idea.  Teach your student about prioritization, these things are all important, but do they receive the same level of importance, definitely not!  Some elements are more important than others.  Show your student how to direct focus to things of greater importance.  This may change from lesson to lesson, so teach your student how to adapt.

It is not enough to simply dump a bunch of concepts on the student and say: do all this stuff.  A teacher needs to show the student how to do the actual work, and how to construct an effective workflow.  As a teacher, some things may be blatantly obvious to you as to not need explanation, but do not assume it is the same for the student.  Explain how to work through a problem, and show the student how to construct an effective practice strategy and workflow to tackle said problem.  Don't just stop there with the intellectual concept of workflow, do an actual practice session within the lesson so the student has an idea of how they should be working at home. 
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline lelle

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Re: Struggling with Multitasking
Reply #3 on: February 01, 2023, 09:46:03 PM
Maybe the pieces she is playing right now simply are too difficult for her to do all those additional things. Can you think of a piece that would be simple enough that you know for sure she could manage to do all of that? If so, don't expect her to do all of it on vastly more difficult pieces. Sometimes not doing everything has to be good enough until the student has developed further.

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