Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Playing scales

playing scales
day after day
the ritual
of her reprimand
with every wrong note

Presence, #48, June 2013

Not necessarily "Back to School," but I figured it might be close enough.

8 comments:

  1. What a sad & dreary way to learn music. A very effective poem, with the line 3 pivot changing the "tone."

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    1. Thank you!
      Yes about the sad and dreary. It seems "in the olden days" we learned many things in such a way. And I love music nowadays - and learning in general. But no amount of reprimands were going to enable my extra-small fingers to reach across keys (one of my excuses, at least!).

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  2. Dang, what a way to get a student to dread learning something fun. I am such a fan of your tanka, this is no exception. Do you have a book of your work?

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    1. Yes, there was some dread associated with piano!
      No, I don't; this blog is my book, containing many (but not all) of my poems. But thanks for asking! I'm a fan of your poetry too.

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  3. This is a good message for music teachers: Scales, I think, are a kind of rote learning (fixing information in your mind by memorization in a mechanical way) and is one of the most tedious tasks there is for children, because there is no real goal in doing the same thing over and over and over again. I don’t recall a single learning experience (myself or my children) where a reprimand improved the commitment to such a boring task.

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    1. Thanks, Wendy. I agree about "mechanical" learning - and the reprimands, which generally only make matters worse.

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  4. I think the tedious scales is one of the reasons I didn't continue with my lessons. However, rote learning is one of the ways to train memory. I wish I had stuck to the piano as I did with learning to type. Now that is rote learning! "The lazy brown dog jumped over the sleeping fox." I'm not sure if that is the correct exercise, but something like it. There were other sentences which used up different letters. Over and over again, until the fingers remembered where to place them. Tedious, yes. But I'm glad I stuck with it.

    Adelaide

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    1. I had no choice in the matter: was told I had to play piano (or, at least, scales). When it came to typing, yes, glad I learned that myself - was essential! We used to memorize multiplication tables, of course, in grade school; I didn't mind that. I don't think that's done anymore ... ?

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