I want to begin with the assumption that neurons fire when stimulated by sensory inputs and then, if enough repetition of the same input creates webs of firing neurons automatically because a web is built and then those webs begin to interact based on memory and associations. Now, granted this is an over simplification but is related to my story.
What I find as an interesting phenomenon in working with students and rhythm is that even many pre-schoolers and early elementary students can hear and duplicate and play along with complicated rhythms if they have enough hands on exploration time with percussion instruments, such as in drum circles. Why is this possible without any "training?" Could it be because over time their audio processing abilities are refined?
Secondly, I have another observed phenomenon to share. I have taken these same students and taught them 4/4 timing so that I could do multiplication drills with them (and not go nuts with out of rhythm players) just prior to the timed 3 daily minute tests. I set up a control group that only did the daily 3 minute timed multiplication tests and no "drumming drills." Interesting enough I found that the ones drumming were able to master their multiplication tables quicker than the ones who did not. Well, yes this is a case study, and the differences in speed of being able to get them all correct in 3 minutes could be attributed to other reasons. But, it did make me wonder if learning is strengthened by multiple forms of sensory inputs that tie together in some way.
Another question I have been pondering is whether when these "webs" are built, is that what we might consider learning? One problem with this idea is that logical arguments do not seem to need sensory input to occur, so is this web interaction? What goes on in our brains does have to boil down to neurons firing and web interaction, right? What is biological and what are our "minds" is a very old question.
Any thoughts? Correct my thinking?
On Thu, Jul 3, 2014 at 2:37 PM, Joe Niederberger <email@example.com> wrote:
> R Hansen: > >So the talented musical students are either not playing Beethoven, or if > they are playing Beethoven, then Beethoven isn?t a parallel to calculus, or > if Beethoven is a parallel to calculus then it isn?t just playing Beethoven > that is a parallel to calculus, it is understanding Beethoven that is a > parallel to calculus, which makes just playing Beethoven a parallel to > arithmetic. > > Yeah - something like that. The problem is trying to take a rough analogy > too far. > > R Hansen: > >And some people might look at these kids and say they don?t have enough > theory, which floors me, considering how good they are (at what ever it is > we agree they are doing). > > I listen to some of them and say they don't have enough rhythm. And so > there's another imperfect analogy to explore. I mentioned that at the piano > recital I just recently attended, not a single performer could play with > convincing rhythm. Why is that? Because students haven't had enough time to > develop rhythmic sensibilities? Of course not. Its because the teacher > wants the correct notes above all else. > > Kirby asks, earlier on: > >Why has all the joy and imagination been sucked out of math teaching? It > seems deliberate. > > I think there may be a rough analogy with the above. > Details left as exercise ;-) > > Cheers, > Joe N >