In the motor learning stage, the skill we're learning is no longer brand new. We start to get the hang of things and begin to refine the skill. We've done it enough times for it to start to become familiar and somewhat predictable. We can also start to self-diagnose and work through our own problems when it doesn't go the way we'd like.
As students get more practiced at self-diagnosing in stage two, the role of the teacher has to change. As I mentioned before, in stage one, the teacher has to provide a lot of guidance, direction, and feedback. He or she needs to validate successful attempts, point out failed attempts, and offer more continuous instruction on how to correctly execute the skill, since the students are not yet able to distinguish that for themselves.
When you all are in stage two, I become more of a facilitator than a teacher. I do a lot more asking questions to get you to self-analyze rather than just giving you the answers. Admittedly, that can make this process feel tedious and frustrating. At times in the past, when I have asked students questions like, "How was that time different from the first time you sang it?" or "What did you notice when you sang this time?" they have responded with, "You're the teacher. You tell me."
But, once the student reaches stage two, if the teacher continues to give as much feedback and direction as was needed during the first stage, it can prevent students from developing their own self-diagnosis abilities. In this way, giving students directions instead of guiding them to reach their own solutions actually HARMS their ability to learn the skill. It may improve their performance in the short term, but if they did not get there on their own, they are less likely to be able to repeat that performance in the long run or when their teacher is not present.
Of course, in order for you to make progress in stage two, you have to be consciously engaged in the process. Going through the motions without being focused may lead to some changes in your immediate performance, but those changes will be more accidental rather than intentional. You have to be the one making decisions and making changes while I try to help keep you moving in the right direction and then stay out of your way as you explore, struggle, and eventually find your own answers.
Honestly, I think the hardest stage to get through is stage two. In stage one, there is the excitement of learning something new, and you aren't so afraid of failing because you understand that you are a beginner. Stage three is also nice because you are reaping the rewards of all your hard work and enjoying your new capabilities. But stage two can last for a really long time (years, for some skills) with seemingly incremental progress or periods of stagnation.
The good news is, the necessary frustration of stage two means that you are getting closer to the automatic stage. If you are avoiding the frustration, or if you quit when you start to get frustrated, or if you are waiting for your teacher to "fix" the problem, then you are keeping yourself in stage one.
What aspects of your singing are in the motor learning stage? What skills are you starting to get the hang of? What skills are getting more consistent but still aren't automatic yet? What have you been discovering in your singing this week?
Now go practice.
|There are always lots of options, but you have to decide where to go.|