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Ballet Talk for Dancers

A Tangent to "Desparately Need Advice"

Guest abcfordance

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Chaos, confusion and disorder: my work here is obviously done :ermm:


Actually, in a rare moment of lucidity I did want to briefly add to the topic

under discussion a bit more. Another reason that I like hart's idea of a

syllabus that initially encompasses a diverse range of adult students is

because as adult students I think we bring our own brand of impatience

to the learning process, as compared to younger students.


Let me see if I can explain what I mean -- My sense is that the children

that I've taught (guitar, not dance!) are willing to practice their scales

or finger exercises because I, the teacher, tell them to. Their impatience

usually comes in terms of a reduced attention span, but I don't find them

asking "why?" after I tell them "because you have to build up dexterity

and familiarity with the fretboard." Adults are (again in my experience)

different -- they have longer attention spans, and usually pretty clear

goals about learning. But, I have to do a better job of motivating them

to do the grunt work -- my "authority" (ha! as if!) is less of a motivator.

Instead, we have discussions about various modes and non-western music

and all kinds of things BEFORE they can even play a simple major scale.

But that's cool, because I know that once they're "on board" then they bring

their maturity and focus to the problem at hand.


I think dance instruction might be the same way -- by giving adults an initial

broad exposure to the material, you the instructor engage their interest and

curiosity, which can help motivate all the repetition and detail work we have to

do. I think this point is also (of course) true for children too, but I suspect that

adults need even more a sense of the whole up front, and more cognitive engagement

with the direction of the class, and their own progress. Sure, both children and adults

can grow impatient, but I've seen this happen for usually different reasons.


Anyway -- thanks, hart, for some interesting ideas that go beyond dance instruction,

but which have helped me better understand my time as a student and as a sometimes


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