Know Your Enemies

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Todd Tipton
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Re: Know Your Enemies

Post by Todd Tipton » Thu Jan 24, 2019 7:18 pm

I thought this was a good article. It brings to my mind how I am able to predict almost every single mistake beginners are going to make in my teaching studio. It has become part of the process in gaining their trust and elevating their comfort level. "That mistake makes sense. Everyone does it. Let's take a closer look and learn from it."

A little game I like to play sometimes is, "What if you were on a game show playing for a million dollars?" Students are given as much time as needed to get from the first note to the last note without making a mistake. Although not directly related to Tom's article, it is related to learning to read early on. It is a great little tool in helping students begin better understanding that every single thing we do is very contrived. It gives them a moment to start experiencing a better version of aim directed movement. And perhaps Tom's article speaks to some of the very things that cause my need for such a game.

While I've never thought about it explicitly until now, hindsight shows me that Tom is on to something about all those mistakes I can predict.
Dr. Todd Tipton, Noda Guitar Studio
Charlotte, NC, USA (available via Skype)

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Tom Poore
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Re: Know Your Enemies

Post by Tom Poore » Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:37 am

Todd Tipton wrote: I thought this was a good article. It brings to my mind how I am able to predict almost every single mistake beginners are going to make in my teaching studio. It has become part of the process in gaining their trust and elevating their comfort level. "That mistake makes sense. Everyone does it. Let's take a closer look and learn from it."
Decades ago, when I first started teaching, I would’ve assumed that when students err, their mistakes would be random. One student makes this mistake, another student makes that mistake, and another makes a different mistake from the previous two. And so on. But long experience shows this isn’t the case. Students repeatedly make the exact same mistakes. If you teach “Frère Jacques” in G major on the guitar, you see every beginner make the same mistakes. If you use a particular method book for beginners, you know for every piece exactly where students will make mistakes before they make them.

That’s when it becomes obvious we’re hardwired for certain behaviors. It’s discomfiting to see ourselves so plainly governed by similar programming. I’m a warm and fuzzy artist who wants to believe I’m not merely another pea in a pod. (Which reminds me of the old joke: “you’re unique—just like everyone else.”)

Fortunately, we can learn to recognize and control our innate programming. This eases the unnerving sense that we’re more like a laptop than we’d care to admit.

Tom Poore
South Euclid, OH
USA

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georgemarousi
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Re: Know Your Enemies

Post by georgemarousi » Fri Jan 25, 2019 8:54 am

Tom Poore wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:37 am
...
. (Which reminds me of the old joke: “you’re unique—just like everyone else.”)

...
Wow, that is a great statement !

I totally hate it! :lol:
Paulino Bernabe Especial 2009
Ramirez 1A 1980
Pavlos Gypas 1989
Furch FN 23 CR ( nylon )
Juan Martinez nr 55 2014 (the comeback)
Yamaha cg 110 1988 (the 1st)
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2014: the comeback

simonm
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Re: Know Your Enemies

Post by simonm » Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:26 pm

I like the phrase "unknown unknowns" - gaps in knowledge that are such that we have no awareness that we are missing the information/skill. It is easy enough to be aware that we can't read a particular key for example.

Apparently experienced guitar repair people routinely get people concerned that the intonation in their guitar has changed and who think the guitar needs a neck reset. However, what has actually happened is that the players ear has developed such that they are now hearing that the scale we use is not really "in tune" across all scales: as they don't really know anything about the scale, they assume the insteurment has changed as opposed to their awareness and hearing.

Rognvald
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Re: Know Your Enemies

Post by Rognvald » Fri Jan 25, 2019 4:36 pm

Tom,
It is my experience as a performer for most of my life that mistakes are caused by:
1.) insecurity in playing a piece since the same mistake is made regularly during practice/performance
2.) temporary loss of focus or external distraction
3.) unavoidable physical/technical glitch related to temporary loss of control
A perfect technical performance can also be a total failure artistically as I see in many CG concerts where "getting the notes right" is more important than communicating your personal voice and interpretation. As an aside, I remember in the past playing a restaurant gig and was performing my new arrangement of the Fifties classic "Here's That Rainy Day" written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke when a well-intentioned woman decided she wanted to talk to me as I was playing-- causing me to lose my focus and eventually stop playing. My initial reaction, usually, would have been quite bad but I was in a mellow mood that night and took it in stride. I did, however, ask her if she wanted to talk further to wait until my break. I suppose that was my most extreme example of making a mistake. Playing again . . . Rognvald P.S. For those unfamiliar with the tune, here's the incomparable vocalist Sarah Vaughan in a live 1988 performance. Enjoy!
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

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Julian Ward
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Re: Know Your Enemies

Post by Julian Ward » Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:14 pm

Playing in restaurants and weddings etc. is totally different though Rognvald - people come and chat to me all the time, and sometimes I find myself talking in some ridiculous 3/4 pulse! They don't realise how difficult it actually is to do that!

In my experience, performance mistakes (when it matters in a concert setting) are random and just 'human' I guess like your number '3'. Of course the others you mention are more the ones we can control. And I totally agree about some players playing very safe and (boring) to avoid any potential number '3' type errors.

This is what I thought the OP was referring to and is quite an interesting discussion, but I think he is instead talking about the mistakes that pupils (students/ learners) make as beginners, which I think is sort of interesting, but in my opinion, not nearly as much as the above topic that you and I mention.
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Todd Tipton
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Re: Know Your Enemies

Post by Todd Tipton » Fri Jan 25, 2019 8:19 pm

Tom Poore wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:37 am

Students repeatedly make the exact same mistakes.
I thought it might be fun to give a few examples of this. And that would be very easy to do being as a book I primarily use with beginners is the same one you edited many years ago. So, just in the name of fun, I give you from LTCG2, a few examples of students repeatedly making the exact same mistakes:

1. page 23, ex. 14, measure 3 and 4
2. page 24, line 3, measures 1 and/or 3
3. page 40, line 4, measure 6.
4. page 68, measure 1.

I don't know if the humor translates, but the idea is that there is no explanation of the mistakes. The assumption is that if you (or anyone else) work with this book a lot, you know exactly the mistakes I am talking about...lol
Dr. Todd Tipton, Noda Guitar Studio
Charlotte, NC, USA (available via Skype)

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