Learning Curve... Line... S... Plateau... to Physical Proficiency.

As a tech and a future music educator focusing on percussion overall, but for now the battery, I was curious as to everyones thoughts on the learning curve. To be a bit more specific I was curious about the muscle memory relating to tempo curve. I want to explain the best I can, but also don't want to bore those that might actually be able to contribute. So here goes for the sake of brevity, but ask questions if need be.

Given only physical proficiency in mind, what do you think the curve or line would look like for a beginning student learning a new exercise.

Do you just try to bump things up 3, 8, or 12 (consistently) clicks a week?
Do you push bigger tempos at the beginning and taper at the end knowing that there are physical limits?
Do you start small, make sure they have it, bigger increments when solid, then tapper when they are reaching physical limits?

I already have some of my own thoughts (which may be very visible), but I'm curious as to everyones thoughts. This is really only the beginning of my questions as well.

Gaining new knowledge through classes and experience, I've realized that though experience is key, keeping actual records and asking others in the process can get you further faster. Doing some R&D if you know what I mean.

Thank you all and I hope to keep this going and maybe even deepen the discussion with everyones thoughts.

[quote author=TuoPohc link=topic=3108.msg16510#msg16510 date=1244163819]
How much time do you spend on warmups (% of rehearsal progressively through the season...) (ok so 3 parts...)?

Down here in Houston, the general rule (as far as band goes) is to spend 20-25% of your rehearsals on nothing but technique. The better directors follow that rule all the way up until the day of the big contest. Your basic concert F, Remington Exercises, Lip Slurs, Scales, whatever. Then you would spend a short time on the bridge material like a chorale (or for us, a cadence). It's not the contest music of a particular season, but it's also not an exercise that the kids will check out on like you said earlier. From there, you spend the rest of the time on your contest music. The percentage would be weighted differently in June camps, since most programs only have their opener if anything.

[quote author=TuoPohc link=topic=3108.msg16510#msg16510 date=1244163819]
How much time do you spend on one exercise?
How many exercises do you play consistently?
I treat this as the same question, actually. You always have to keep in mind the mentality of your age group. It's sad to see the direction today's youth are going with shortening attention spans and demand for instant gratification.

With the younger kids, I have found it to be pretty effective to have yourself a core group of exercises that cover all of your basics (and maybe a few that go beyond) and hit them everyday. You would be surprised how many higher level concepts you can cover with an 11 year old when you don't spend half the class on them and you keep them varying. I prefer the exact same order everyday, but I know several people that have a few different exercises that they switch in and out depending on what day.

With the older kids you can spend more time on a particular exercise/concept and they will be alright. It's really up to you to keep them interested. ";That was bad, do it again";, or ";You're doing it wrong, do it again"; just SCREAMS bad teacher to me if they are said without explaining WHY it is bad or WHAT they are doing wrong:)

[quote author=TuoPohc link=topic=3108.msg16510#msg16510 date=1244163819]
I've noticed that if they aren't DELIBERATELY playing the exercise it's a waste of reps. How crucial do each of you think attention is in reps? If after 10 minutes of 8's you notice they aren't paying attention... do you move on seeing a point of no gain?
If you give them a certain thing to look or listen for, you can rep any exercise for an hour, even 8's! When you leave it up to them to diagnose themselves, that's when they get bored and it starts to suck.

Quick example...

I'm teaching a camp right now in Magnolia, TX with Justin Arenas (Cavie age out, don't know him very well but so far am VERY impressed!). Justin Arenas is explaining technique he uses, he called it a take on the North Texas style. It's quite different than the Legato Flow that they use right now, but Justin is explaining it in a way that has these kids completely focused on making it look, feel, and sound right. Today, they rehearsed for two and a half hours on TWO exercises and never even took a break. The coolest thing was that NOT ONE KID GRIPED, and at the end they were even saying ";It's been HOW long? Already?";

We can't all teach the [insert favorite corps], where every member is 100% dedicated to their craft and know how to improve themselves. Most high school kids need to be told what to do until they have the maturity to do it themselves, which for most of them probably won't be until Senior year, if ever. You'll be in good shape if you are constantly reminding/telling/showing your kids what SOUNDS good, what LOOKS good, how to do it, and most importantly, how to identify quality. You might be the only person in this kids life that is demanding ANYTHING of them above the status quo. That kind of kid needs you to show them how to set and meet a high standard, and those skills they will take with them everywhere (college, sports, workforce, parenting, prison, etc.).

OK, I think Tapspace has become like crack to me, I need to stop posting for a little while:)
Ralph, thanks for that post. Definitely a lot of great knowledge that us less experienced instructors can use. I don't come from an extremely competitive circuit like Texas, but it's definitely a lot I can use in helping my kids achieve that next level.
Login or Signup to post a comment