Saturday, December 4, 2010


I just left a comment on this post by Jeffrey Agrell where he talks about so many students wanting to participate in competitions by playing pieces beyond their current capability. It's a great post with lots of food for thought. One thing it helped me realize is just how important a tool competition is in the educational system as a motivator and a winnower. In music therapy, competition just isn't in the picture. 

Here's the comment:

Hi, Jeffrey – Just a terrific post I’ve read several times now and keep seeing new things. The “patience for the process” phrase seems perfect for music education, and you’ve set me wondering how I’d rephrase it for music therapy.

“The difference between practice mind and performance mind” is something I hope you will expand on sometime.

Your general idea list reads like part of a music therapist’s care plan.

To me, this obsession with competitions is just the music education system’s ethos turned up an extra notch. I’m an outsider looking in, but competition seems a basic tool used by educators to get musical results, and part of the ongoing winnowing process.

The always striving for greater technique seems to trump letting students play things they’ve fully mastered technically so that they might mine them and themselves for a deeper understanding of musicality.

Like everything in music, a balance of some kind is needed, and you’ve done a great job of outlining the thinking needed to find it.

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