Uszler emphasizes that teachers must be able to distinguish the difference between teaching motor skills versus cognitive skills as it helps us understand how to effectively use repetition and reinforcement in our teaching.
"A motor skill must be repeated exactly in order for it to become a natural habit. Learning a concept, on the other hand, must be reinforced (and in that sense repeated) by using the concept in varied contexts. "Practice" is the word to use when working on a motor skill. "Reinforcement" is a better term to describe internalizing a concept."
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Her list of helpful hints are good ones to keep in mind for reinforcing musical concepts in different contexts.
- The more you call students' attention to groups (rather than to isolated pitch or note names), the more quickly they learn to see connections and make relationships.
- The more you vary reading and rhythm drills and exercises (slightly, but continually), the more alert student will remain.
- The more you precede rhythmic reading drills with rhythmic experiences that relate to the drills, the more you make students aware that rhythm takes place over an ongoing pulse.
- The more short and varied note-reading drills you use to help students establish good reading habits, the more at ease they become with the process of note-reading.
- The more you include short ear-training drills and experiences at each lesson, the faster your students associate names and definition with sounds and music making.
- The more more you involve students in several learning modes (sight, ear and movement) when learning a new concept, the more quickly they develop an inner assurance that they "own" the concept.
"Remember, the best teachers are those who can - and do - say the same thing a thousand different ways, appealing to many senses and touching a thousand different nerve endings in order to stimulate someone else to independent thought and action."