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    Entries in expectations (1)

    Wednesday
    May082013

    Music students are like dogs

    Although I didn't grow up with dogs, our family has had them for many years. Four years ago, a Husky named Heidi came into my life thanks to my daughter Meghan. Heidi was Meghan's dog, so when Meghan went off to college in Colorado- leaving Heidi behind in my care- it was obvious that something had to be done so that Heidi would be managable and to listen to my direction. Therefore, we started going to dog training class. We've been going for about three years now; our teacher Suzi Hillis is a master teacher. (She also is an awesome dressage trainer)

    What has always struck me about dog training is how similar it is to music training. Start simple, perfect the task and repeat. Then add another, slightly more difficult element. And repeat.

    Today I had a question for Suzi about Heidi's training and her answer seemed tailor made for my students: if something isn't working, go back to the basics. Don't reward if the skill isn't done perfectly.

    Sure enough, I had gone way past Heidi in my expectations and was frustrated because she wasn't able to do something complex. 

    The same advice could be given to a musician, trying to learn a piece but running into a wall while trying to perfect a piece. If it's not working, go back to basics. Perfect small parts, and repeat. Then add a few more parts. And repeat.