Imagine: multi-modal learning


I love the word, the idea, the song (melody, lyrics, riffs).

We received a (much-wanted) piano – a gift from a stranger (quick digression: husband asked at a local garage sale if they had a piano. The answer was no but that their brother had one to give away but it was in Bega – a good 6-hour drive away! Husband goes off on a road trip with 2 mates and now it’s home…a piano with stories…gotta love that).   Not a day goes by without it being played by my daughters and recently, me. Yes, I’ve decided to re-learn.

If you’ve been following my blog before, you’d recall that I have tried to do this before and, in fact, used the experience as an inspiration to introduce Algebra. That was a few years ago and the interest waned. But now, we’ve got a REAL piano. with a story.  So re-learn, I must.

I chose to learn “Imagine”. I got the free music sheet from here. I had a go and then hit YouTube (as you do) and found this tutorial. This guy made it looked easy and talked about chords. So there I was, tinkering away and said aloud, “I wish I could play chords on the piano” et voila! my fairy godmother appeared! Actually, it was my 15 year old daughter.  She learned the skill from her Music elective and she showed me how. And guess what, there are patterns (again). So now, my ‘version’ is a hybrid of the sheet music, the video tutorial and the face-to-face tuition I got from my daughter. THIS is multi-modal learning!

There’s much here that can be adapted to classroom learning and I will list a few. Please feel free to contribute any more you can glean out of this.

  1. Motivation drives learning. Have purpose.
  2. Learning through (work)sheets is possible. It is a point-of-reference.
  3. Learning through videos is possible.
  4. Direct instruction can be a real boost.
  5. Immediate and specific feedback is invaluable.
  6. Articulating (identifying) difficulties can become learning opportunities.
  7. Learn from anyone; kids can teach.
  8. Identifying patterns can be a catalyst for learning.  Abstraction is necessary for transference (and I’m really excited about this transference bit – building my repertoire and dreaming of improvisations – haha)
  9. Practice. There is a difference between knowing and mastery: I now know how to play Imagine but mastery is still a dream.
  10. Learning is relationship-building.

Imagine a classroom where these are at play.

Learn to “enjoy the process”

Chatting with a friend today, I admitted that I’m not often enjoying the present, as in the ‘here and now’. Often, my mind drifts off to what needs to be done (next) on a long list of things to do. This means, I often get things done and that’s the good part. The bad part is, it always feels a mad rush from start to finish and I struggle to truly relax.

Serendipitously, I read from the Happiness Project a tip that ties in rather well, i.e. ‘Enjoy the process‘. It is serendipitous given that I hardly visit the given website which I spotted from a friend’s blogroll.

Is this technically something I learned today? Well, not in the strictest sense. But it is a timely reminder for me as it is a lesson I have been taught – over the years from experience and from people I’ve known – YET obviously haven’t really learned. There is definitely a teaching-learning disconnect.

Life is full of processes, living included. From a morbid point-of-view, the final destination is death (notwithstanding any religious beliefs) and so it is imperative that one enjoys the processes one finds oneself in. Truthfully, there are onerous processes like cleaning toilets. Still, there are processes I do enjoy and these typically involve creativity. I like travelling, too, including the journey themselves – met many interesting people this way. So, there is hope for me yet.

Enjoy the process. Enjoy the journey.