Chinese Proverb

"Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I'll understand." - Chinese Proverb.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Take a "Brain-Dump": Why I think blogging about lessons & discoveries is essential to cello learning

I've learned so much more while blogging, than when I wasn't blogging!
I think this due to the fact that I've started flushing out all the details after each lesson by trying to blog about every detail we've covered during my lesson.

This has also made me much more conscientious because I've had to type up my ideas and information, and put it into coherent sentences. Putting my thoughts into words has definitely helped cement ideas and information I've learned during each lesson!

In the beginning, I wasn't learning and retaining as much information because I wasn't writing down and flushing out the details of each lesson. Now, I'm surprised to see how much we cover during my lessons! Adam once told me that, "there is SO much information out there, so I'll only give you as much as you could handle."
In the beginning, I was definitely missing a LOT of information, which probably made it look like I couldn't handle much.

There are a lot of recommendations out there to practice immediately after a lesson, but I think flushing out the details is better than practicing after a lesson. It's what my prior boss used to call a "brain-dump!"
Yes, I know... a bit of toilet humor...wah, wah, wah.... =p

I'm not talking about, arriving home from a lesson and then taking a break to eat dinner, watch some television and then start writing down what I've learned. I mean writing down or typing everything I can possibly think of as soon as I get homesystematically from the beginning of the lesson to the end of the lesson. My husband knows not to bother me right after my lesson, as he knows I have to do a "brain-dump" of everything I've learned.

I think if one waits too long before doing a brain-dump, than they loose some descriptions of feelings or body positions that they felt during the lesson, which is crucial in re-creating the movement during practice time.

My reasons for flushing out details first - instead of practicing:
  1. It changes my priorities
    • I’ve discovered that if I immediately practice instead of flushing out the details, I practice what I think is important and not necessarily what my teacher was trying to get across. When this happens, I forget (not on purpose) about the rest of the information provided during the lesson because I'm so focused on getting a specific part of my bowing or fingering fixed. Thus, I learn less!
    • I also tended to focus on corrections made during the end of the lesson and forget about the corrections made in the beginning.
    • By making sure I have all the details down first, I can review the lesson as a whole and determine what were the really important pieces of information that I should be practicing.
  2. Origin of epiphanies
    • I think unless I'm consciously aware of the information first, it cannot be utilized.
    • By first flushing out the details, I can remember little tidbits, which can be helpful in the future. Information from the past that I've made conscious effort to think about and write down suddenly make a connection to what I'm working on and it "clicks." If I don't write it down and make a conscious effort to access the information (i.e. blogging about it), than the information cannot be utilized and it is eventually forgotten altogether.
    • I can also access the information again to strengthen what I've learned by re-reading my blogs, which makes the information more accessible and therefore, more easily available for epiphanies to occur!
  3. Learn more efficiently
    1. My blogs are getting longer and longer because I'm taking the time to process the information by thinking about it and blogging about it. When I look through my blog and compare them to my previous notes (prior to implementing the brain-dump), I'm certain I'm missing 70% of what was taught during my lessons, which is unfortunate! I wonder what great information I've forgotten or missed.
My process:
  1. Type up as much information I can remember after a lesson
  2. Wait a few hours or the next day to see if I can remember anything else - I always seem to remember more information later
  3. Format my blog, add pretty pictures and double check wording and sentences - then post!
  4. Typically, when I start practicing the next day (I don't practice on a lesson days), I remember other tidbits, which I add to the blog as well
I have to admit, it takes me a while to type everything, but it's been extremely helpful!

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