Developing Musical Skill
The most useful musical skill we can teach our children is the skill of how to practise. Becoming ‘good’ at playing or singing is an important goal because like with all things, music isn’t fun until you are competent, in that you can play a piece without hesitations and errors. For this, and for continued musical improvement, nothing is as important as the quality and the quantity of personal practice. Indeed, lack of improvement – or progress, can quickly result in a student wanting to quit.
I’ve been studying the factors that impact musical improvement and enjoyment, along with the neuroscience of skill learning, mindset, motivation, and why some students quit things so readily – for more than 20 years. This knowledge, along with much good fortune has enabled me to present my research – to students, teachers, and parents in hundreds of schools, music studios, and teacher organisations, in more than 30 countries.
Feedback from these presentations verifies that this message is being received. Music teachers and parents tell me that on attending a Developing Musical Skill live presentation, reading the book, or taking my new online course, students become more excited and motivated to learn and to practise. They want to get better; developing a new sense of self-belief, armed with an understanding and practical strategy that works. As a result of the ensuing effort, continuous improvement broadens potential.
For instance, following a presentation at a school in the UK, a child’s mother wrote, my daughter came straight home and practiced! (Red Maids School, Bristol). When addressing the Hampshire Youth Orchestra (UK) one parent said, it was great that we parents had the opportunity to listen to this with our son and another, the talk by Michael Griffin was so encouraging and useful. We came as a family and our daughters aged 11 and 8 enjoyed every minute of it!
Much of the wisdom delivered in Developing Musical Skill will probably reiterate and confirm your teaching. This is powerful because wisdom needs to be repeated, and from different sources to strengthen and confirm the learning. Being told something once and from one source only is never the most effective way to learn – much like variable repetition is more effective than blocked repetition! Content and concepts include but not limited to:
- Repetition: blocked, variable, interleaved and spaced, brain myelination
- Chunking: recognising patterns, theory, and memory consolidation
- Why slow practice is so effective
- How much practice and how often?
- Mindset: Growth and improvement through personal effort
Three opportunities to embrace Developing Musical Skill
- An interactive, 90-minute live presentation with Michael Griffin presenting at your school/conference/music association/studio. Invite students, parents, teachers and if you like, the local community
- Take the online course. At only AUD$49, inexpensive for individuals or purchase an even better value site-licence for your cohort, including parents. Includes numerous videos and resources.
- Buy the book. Perfect for secondary music students including Year 11 and 12 solo/ensemble performance students.
Contact Michael Griffin to discuss options and dates for 2022-23.
Who’d have thought that a talk about instrumental practice could be so fascinating?! With huge thanks to Michael Griffin for visiting us! – Tim Garrard, Westminster School, London
A superlative talk to music scholars and teachers. First rate! – Headington Girls, Oxford
This was a first-class talk by a high calibre, international speaker. What a great start to a new school year. – Red Maids, Bristol
I want to thank you for giving such an inspiring presentation to our pupils, parents and staff yesterday. Every pupil I have spoken to today who was at the presentation has said how much they enjoyed it and how much it made them think. We are very fortunate that you came to Wycliffe, and I hope many schools will be able to benefit from your presentation. – Gemma Russell, Wycliffe College.
An excellent talk this evening. Michael is a superb speaker and delivered key messages in such an engaging way to our parents. – Headmaster, King’s High School, Warwick UK
Online Course Feedback
This course is excellent. The content is laid out in a very student-friendly manner and the comic characters help to confirm numerous important points in a fun way! The ratio of music, talk and visual display is well balanced, the audio is clear. The content is wonderful, including lots of colourful quotes and scientific references. So interesting and beneficial! I am glad that I did this course myself – as a teacher, so I can use the quotes and references in lessons. Thank you for creating such a helpful program for young people. I hope it brings more meaning and joy into their music learning!
– Margarita Krupina, Studio Music Teacher, Burwood, Victoria.
…and the book!
A comprehensive guide to practice for secondary students including Year 11 and 12 solo and ensemble performance students. Generate curiosity and classroom discussions about practice!
– one thing I really agree with is…
– one thing I found interesting was…
– one thing I remain a little confused about is…
– something I’d like to do more of in my practice is…
A really great book! Well organized, clear, and concise. I will be recommending it to my students. – David Coleman, OHIO