Hello blog! Sorry I have been away.
Recently I have read a book called Guitar Zero by Gary Marcus, a cognitive psychologist. In it he talks about his efforts, in his late thirties, to learn the guitar from scratch. I found this passage especially interesting (remember he’s talking about music teachers). Here goes:
“Why do we need teachers at all? The most obvious answer is that teachers know things that the students don’t, be it the most efficient fingering for a sequence of notes in Beethoven’s ninth or the difference between a diminished chord and an augmented chord. Another reason, of course is that teachers can serve as motivators, either through carrots (gold stars and stickers) or through sticks (mortification, shame, or bad grades). For an adult learner teachers also likely provide incentive: most of us probably practice less than we should, and then race to catch up when our next lesson is coming up. Good teachers can also impose structure, helping us know what to practice and when. It is not enough to say, ‘Go home and practice’; a good teacher says what to practice and how: the most skilled teachers aim to help their students practice efficiently. But beyond all this, the most important role of the teacher may be to help the students pinpoint the errors and target their weaknesses; beginning students especially, are often too busy trying to make music. They don’t really hear what they are playing. As one sage academic and music teaching put it ‘(Often too much of a student’s) attention is devoted to the production of the music, not (enough) to monitoring the results of the sound.’ Teachers can be brilliant in this regard .” (Marcus, G (2012) Guitar Zero. Oneworld Publishing page 66)
Do you think he’s right? Are those the reasons we need teachers? Or are there others?