It has been a challenging, exhausting year for the whole world. Even though our little corner in Beerwah has been blessed with minimal interruptions in comparison, it has still taken a toll. As it is the beginning of the final term, I’d like to encourage our students to tackle Term 4 like a good piano player in order to finish well in 2020.
An article called “Mastery by Working Smart”, compared learning to how a good piano player improves his or her craft. The principles in the article are relevant to how we should tackle Term 4 and some may even seem counterintuitive so I thought they were worth exploring.
1. Do what doesn’t come easily. How often do we encourage our children to, “start with the easy bits”? A good piano player doesn’t learn by playing the piece from beginning to end; they spend most of their time on the difficult parts that they haven’t mastered. In tackling Term 4, let’s improve by focusing on the tricky bits.
2. To master a skill, master something harder. For example, a good piano player will complicate part of the music by playing with alternative accent patterns or speed. Try new ways to tackle the work you find most difficult and find alternative approaches. Maybe drawing a slash pattern will help memorise history or doing Maths backwards will conquer a tricky problem. Try skipping forward in a textbook to see if it helps shed light on a chapter not yet mastered. Keep challenging yourself.
3. Systematically eliminate weakness. We don’t like focussing on our weaknesses but it is a great learning tool and confidence booster. Good piano players identify problems, are open to feedback from tutors, colleagues and audience and then act on that feedback. Identify your weakest points and throw all your efforts at them until they become areas of strength. Ask teachers for work areas and suggestions for improvement.
4. Imagine perfection. A good piano player imagines how a perfect performance will sound, feel and look. Always aim for the best and don’t let the fear of failure hold you back. Ask other students how they have tackled tricky subjects and take on board all suggestions for improvement. Perfection may be out of reach for most of us but reaching for perfection will help us improve.
5. Remove obstacles to learning. A good piano player sets aside practice time and jealously guards it. They remove all distractions and obstacles to focus on the practice. Be disciplined with your learning and don’t be tempted by what’s on YouTube or the sound of siblings playing outside. Nothing can substitute for old-fashioned good habits of discipline.
Term 4 is only short and will be over before we know it. Let’s tackle Term 4 like a good piano player and make every day count!
Finally, in only a few weeks our Year 12 students will be engaged in the Queensland wide external examinations, the first in over thirty years! These are high stakes assessments that count 25% and in some cases 50% towards their final results. Please pray for our Year 12s. The final year of school is already a tough year to keep motivated and study hard but this year has been particularly difficult. I am happy to say that our Year 12s seem to be in excellent shape considering, but I know they will still value your prayers and support.
Mike Curtis, Principal