Have you ever shown up to a lesson and felt unprepared? Are you making the kind of progress expected of you? You practiced to the best of your ability every day since your last lesson. But now you’re sitting in the hot seat and feeling confused as your teacher reviews tiny-tricky-technical executions that you only sort of remember… This is not a nice feeling! Why did this happen? Was it because you’re inattentive? Were you not paying enough attention? Are you a…Uh oh, I’m gonna say it… BAD student?! No way! Absolutely not!
The limits of your brain…
We all have a limit on what we can absorb at any one time. We could think of our instructors as the fire hose to our brain-sponge. There is a tornado of information flying around in our lessons, most of which we just can’t catch. This gives our memory quite the workout- In fact, according to Livescience, we can only really handle about four things at one time… That’s what we call juggling!
Adding to the issue, the limit of what we can catch will change depending on the day, time, our energy level, and maybe even how many red lights we had to run in order to make it to the studio on time (probably don’t do that, ok?).
Record, Record, Record
So, that’s nature. What can we do though? It’s relatively simple, actually: Record your lessons! This provides confidence that all the wisdom your instructor has shared is safely stored for later review. You won’t have to worry about quickly scribbling notes onto a random paper scrap, only to be incorrectly deciphered later. (NOTE: I’ve done this! I can’t trust my handwriting for anything, really…). Video recording in the classroom allows you to take your lesson home with you and relive it as many times as is necessary. (Yes, your instructor’s lesson studio is a classroom.) The National Association for Music Education suggests that instructors make available recording devices for their students so that progress can be better managed.
Recording lessons can accelerate progress. If you review and work the recorded material outside of class time, your instructor will spend less time reviewing the previous week’s concepts and demonstrations at your next lesson. That’s what they call an efficient use of time, my friend! Dr. Mark Babbitt, Professor of Trombone at Illinois State University, uses an educational platform called Collabra (That’s us!) to record lessons for his students and says: “I have noticed a more focused quality to the lessons since I started using Collabra to record. The retention from lesson to lesson has improved across the board. Additionally, I have noticed a significant improvement in the students’ involvement via follow-up questions.”
Higher retention rate!
You may feel as though you paid perfect attention during your lesson, but I guarantee this: If you were to record it and then review it, you’d discover advice or guidance which was totally missed the first time around. Additionally, seeing the lesson on video allows you to continue imitating your instructor’s demonstrations long after the lesson ends. And imitation is an important step toward mastery. Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and countless other artists, musicians and sports personalities have used imitation to excel. Indeed, how else do we learn to do anything but through imitation? By the way, if you’re worried about sounding unoriginal, don’t be. According to the research found here, “This study has so far shown that even when required to imitate, participants did not lose their own individual interpretations. Indeed, the process added new elements to their performances”.
Your lesson time, and therefore time to observe your instructor is limited. Recording the lesson provides a way to continue reviewing your instructor’s execution every day until your next lesson. Subsequent viewings of the lessons yield deeper revelations about the information shared, better equipping you for your next lesson.
To Tangle in Technology… or Be Free in the Cloud?
Now, the issue of HOW to record. Well, you might be picturing a pile of equipment and several thousand cords connected to goodness knows what… And how much space that would take up on your phone/computer/hologram machine… How do we go about recording our lessons comfortably? Sure, we could pile three thousand lesson files on our laptop or phone, but that doesn’t seem like the best idea in the world…
Here’s something new to try….and no, it’s not Brussel sprouts dipped in chocolate. (a true recent experience.)
If you’d like to explore recording your lessons, I suggest checking out a new online platform called Collabra. Using Cloud storage, Collabra has room for your three thousand lesson files and provides tools for more than just file storage. The unlimited storage feature alone makes it difficult to shake any kind of stick at it. Using Collabra eliminates the need for a pile of equipment. All you need is an internet connection, webcam (or microphone) your smartphone (or computer) – and you’re good to go! No emailing of files! No three hour upload times! Everything is recorded directly onto the platform and stored securely for you and your instructor. The most important sections of your lesson can be bookmarked for quick reference. You can even attach comments to lesson or practice recordings, allowing you to exchange feedback with your instructor mid-week if needed.
In short, recording lessons can get you to the good stuff faster! You’ll retain more information from your instructor, you’ll ask better questions, and you’ll all around get more out of your learning experience. Win win win, I’d say! What do you think? Do you record your lessons already? Have you experienced something similar? If you’re an instructor, how has your experience changed once you started recording your lessons? I’d love to hear from you.