Metacognition for mastering a new musical instrument

Children learn new things much faster than adults. The same applies to learning new skills, so it's not for nothing that learning foreign languages or playing a musical instrument is best started at a young age. Some child prodigies even begin to play at the age of 3-4 years.

But we have what we have - you're 35 years old (you can put in any number here) and you still want to learn to play guitar. Or you are already successfully playing the drums, but suddenly you decide to master the intricate violin. You could say that all your efforts will be doomed to failure, but that's not entirely true.

Yes, children have a more malleable mind, so they learn new skills faster, because they are still in the process of development themselves. So what advantage do adults have? This advantage is called metacognition, which is a skill that every learner needs to be able to literally manage their lives.

So as not to delve into the theory of psychology, let's look at these processes with a simple example. When a 5-year-old boy goes to his first piano lesson, the only thing in his power is to do his best to learn the technique and philosophy of the teacher. An adult knows for himself which methods of teaching are more suited to him, while he himself understands how much progress he is making in learning a new musical instrument, he can evaluate his skills critically. And he understands perfectly well which methods of learning are worth keeping because they are effective for him specifically, and which should be eliminated.

The conditions of metacognition

Our metacognition is about being aware of our own ability to form strategies and resources that will help us solve a problem effectively.

There are several ways in which metacognition can occur:

Meta-memory. Refers to awareness of our own memory capabilities. Specifically, our ability to connect previously learned knowledge with new knowledge. As far back as D. Bransford defined it, strong learners are self-aware of what they need to learn or do in order to master a skill. Meta-cognition. It is a conscious, responsible attitude toward one's own knowledge. It is a kind of objective view from the outside, which allows you to analyze your perception and correct your condition by various methods. Meta-thinking. Its main functions are control over thinking processes, their planning, regulation and coordination. This is very important because we very rarely reflect on our thoughts, where our particular beliefs and ideas come from as we form ourselves as a person. There are certain metacognitive strategies that can help us learn new material. In this case, playing a new musical instrument.

choosing a way that works for us

The modern age of the Internet has greatly expanded the possibilities for learning, and for choosing the information and ways of learning that are right for us. Each of us went to school, attended some courses or clubs, worked and got paid for it. It's a good time to remember how all of these classes have affected you, what strategies your supervisors or teachers have had the greatest impact on you.

Even in the example of a university classroom, you can see how different people's behavior is. Someone sits on the phone and is not particularly interested, someone methodically notes every word after the instructor, believing that this is the most appropriate way to get a good grade. And someone wants to start practice immediately, without wasting time on theory.

Ask yourself, too - which way suits you best? How do you absorb information better? In groups, where all students are at roughly the same professional level, or individually with a tutor, when you are not distracted by other people? Or maybe you don't need anyone at all, and you master the material better by learning from videos on the Internet? By the way, this is quite common, because not everyone has the desire to be constantly in society. On the contrary, they concentrate better when they are alone.

Make your own schedule.

Here it all depends on the goal of the person who decided to learn a new musical instrument. If you want to learn to play the guitar, but give this activity only one day a week, it is obvious that the learning period will be very long. It can be compared to rehabilitation after spinal surgery - if you re-learn how to walk just once a week, your brain is unlikely to "remember" how to take steps, maintain balance, etc.

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