Category Archives: Music

The hidden benefits of finger patterns: mitigating the tedium of the 10,000-mile journey

What my students discovered about finger patterns revealed the interesting dimension in a potentially boring activity. As they established their routines for finger patterns, they soon found that their minds behaved in new and surprising ways. One of my students, … Continue reading

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How I convinced my cello students to get started on their 10,000 hours

Drawing on a mysterious fund of patience, my cello students all agreed to adopt one of the most routine, simple practice techniques I’d ever assigned. It could have been boring but somehow wasn’t; even those most likely to resist this … Continue reading

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Preparations for convincing my most gifted cello students to get started on their 10,000 hours

Since many gifted children don’t tolerate boredom well, how can we convince them that they should persevere through the long slog to mastery of any subject or skill? I succeeded with my cello students, but only after I had stumbled … Continue reading

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A natural law of learning

As teachers and parents of the most highly gifted students, we often wish for an “answer manual” to guide us through the puzzles these children present us with. Fortunately, there is one answer we can count on, apparently universal and … Continue reading

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Nurturing talent: not always an easy task

As we have seen, Joseph missed the opportunity to develop good work habits during his formative years. At age 17, he could still have learned to work hard, though this probably would have been difficult for him. As it was, … Continue reading

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Good practice habits alone could have helped Joseph to develop his musical talent

Joseph, my talented high school student, went on to college before I could get him to change his deficient work habits. His undeveloped musical talent showed itself in the widely varying levels of skill within his technique: for example, his … Continue reading

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Undeveloped talent: “I can’t remember the last time I had to study for a test.”

Joseph, the student who could easily see the cello fingerboard in his head after hardly any practice, came to my studio when he was a high school junior. With only two years in which to influence him, I always felt … Continue reading

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Having talent versus developing it

Talented people display innate ability, often from an early age, for an activity or academic subject that most others struggle with. Through years of cello teaching, I noticed these students because they could do certain things much more easily than … Continue reading

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The Value of a Meltdown, Part Six

Less than a week after we stopped, Lewis began begging to resume cello lessons. I wasn’t surprised; neither was I all that surprised by my own eagerness to start up again. I sensed that in the depth of my giving-up, … Continue reading

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The Value of a Meltdown, Part Five

For days after discontinuing Lewis’s cello lessons, I was so miserable that I could barely drag myself around the house, and Lewis was, too. We both missed his cello lessons, yet I just didn’t see how to resume them in … Continue reading

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