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 Discussion: Roundtable Topic: Fractions, concept and calculations

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 Subject: RE: Fractions, concept and calculations Author: Mathman Date: Oct 27 2004
On Oct 27 2004, ihor wrote:

Hi,

>One
> of the most formative experiences of my life was taking piano
> lessons for 3 years: It was the ultimate drill and kill experience
> because the teaching was so uninspiring that I actually avoided
> contact with any form of music for years. Fortunately, it was not
> life threatening... I do enjoy all kinds of music today and even
> learned to play a little guitar in my later years. I don't have kids
> of my own but I did watch closely my niece and nephews grow up all
> taking years of music lessons from a good teacher. Only one of them
> became reasonably good at it, but the others enjoyed the experience
> of learning to play. (I'm jealous.)

That is part of the problem as I see it; there is not enough practice done to
learn the skills.  Golfers practice their swing constantly.  martial arts
experts do the most deadly [no pun intended] drills....and pianists practice
scales and arpheggios.  Why?  Because if they don't [all of the above], they
will not be able to accomplish what they do in a million years.  What they are
doing is peparing for the day when they will not need to think about what they
are doing, and so it should be when people do problems involving fractions.

I started piano lessons at age 7, and started winning prizes at age 7.  My music
teacher was, well, STRICT.  Hands in the right position, or it got a light tap
with the ever busy knitting needles.  Practice?  Every day ...365 days a year.
First all scales, then arpheggios, and eventually I mean ALL of them, all
variations.  Then the few bars of the piece being then studied, and I mean
studied, not just glossed over.  then a short break and play anything at all.
Well, you get the picture perhaps.  Result?  Now I hear, "Gosh, I wish I could
play like that.", and I think, "What one fool can do, so can another."  All it
takes is practice, practice, practice ...and some theory along the way to deepen
the understanding.  I liked to practice, and if one day was missed, it was felt
the next.

Now? For as far back as I can recall ...I read music like you read a book, not
the letters or the words, but the phrases and the ideas; the chords and themes
vertically, and the intertwining flow horizontally.  Beethoven, Chopin, Bach,
Lizt, ...and a great joy in the technical as well as the artistic
accomplishments of these great masters who shared their skills.

Like the athelete claims ...No pain, no gain. You should have stuck with it.  My
music teacher?  She was beloved by all of her studnts and parents.  Practically
none left any competition without a prize ...ever.  All had the skills she
insisted on, and all I knew learned to *really* appreciate the value of what
they had gained as they still enjoy music.  I still worship the ground she
walked on.

Don't listen to someone playing the scales and chords without then listening to
the Schubert impromptus.  The fingers fall naturally into place with practice.
Go to a concert and listen to those who practiced 8 hours a day play for only an
hour or two to ntertain you.

That's why they should practice doing fractions.

David.