Learning Strategies For Musical Success by Michael Griffin

Learning Strategies For Musical Success

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Music educator Griffin (Music and Keyboard in the Classroom, 2013) aims to help readers understand the science behind “practice makes perfect.”

While Griffin’s new book doesn’t go so far as to guarantee perfection for its practitioners, he does make a point to debunk the myth of natural talent, arguing instead for the unmatched importance of time spent practicing. With regard to so-called child prodigies, Griffin writes that what distinguishes them is that “they are constantly compared with children their own age, rather than with others who have accrued similar quantities of practice hours, similar opportunities, and family support.” Still, parents of would-be child prodigies can learn plenty here about how best to nurture their budding musicians. Griffin’s six well-researched, in-depth chapters are explained well for lay readers, translating studies in mathematics and neuroscience into comprehensible pop psychology with plenty of valuable “learning strategies for musical success.” Accordingly, the book is geared more toward instruction than entertainment and might be a bit dry for the casual reader; that said, Griffin also offers worthwhile information for nonmusicians. Particularly interesting are his notes on selecting background music for study, considering volume, tempo, tonality and texture. “Extrovert teenage boys are,” perhaps not surprisingly, “most at risk to choose poor study music.” Ultimately, rooted as it is in research and experience, much of Griffin’s advice comes down to matters of common sense, such as the need to strike a balance between encouragement and critical instruction. Figuring out how to do this is, of course, a bit trickier, so musical educators and parents of young music students alike will be grateful for Griffin’s valuable insights and the supporting information he’s gathered. The intermittent quotes from various historical luminaries on music, education and the mind don’t add much to Griffin’s text, though they’re precisely the sort of reducible platitudes found on posters in many music classrooms, so they don’t feel entirely out of place.

A helpful guide for anyone looking to understand musical success.

Pub Date: Aug. 26th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1481946735
Page count: 174pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
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