May 14, 2014

Teaching helps make you a better learner.

When you are in a workshop, the instructor seems to have the easiest bit of the day – that person already knows the tune – it’s the participants that are trying desperately to learn the music being shared.  But is it actually easier to teach than to learn?  And what could be more fun than sharing a tune so you’ll have more people to play it with?  To get to that point, you’ll have to teach it!

Still, many of us have experienced the very real challenges that teaching to someone else poses.  Trying to share a tune with someone else highlights just how well we know it ourselves.  To teach a tune, you have to have a complete understanding of the tune. Well, at least it helps.

And so, sharing a tune with someone else will help you make sure you have that tune down rock solid.  If you want to teach it well you will also have to think through all the patterns, the fingerings, and the intervals.  You will have had to think about the phrases, how they related to one another, how many there are, how similar or different they are to one another, and whether those phrases are reminiscent of other tunes (thus, of course, increasing the confusability quotient!).

Wouldn’t be easier if you started out that way?  What if you took approach learning the tune as though you will turn around and teach it?  To get to that, you'll have to be sure to really look and really listen.  Find the patterns or repeats, note how many phrases there are, look at their structure.  And think from early on how you’re going to teach it on to someone else – soon!

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