Month: April 2012

The Kid Who Loves Music

Ethan Walmark is six, he’s got autism, and he loves playing piano (he’s been learning by ear since he was tiny). Here, he plays one of his favorites: “Piano Man,” by Billy Joel. It’s worth a listen.
People talk about passion so often that it can sometimes feel like an abstraction. It’s nice to see a …

The Power of Small Wins

Most of us instinctively spend a lot of time and energy seeking the big breakthrough: that magical moment when, after a lot of effort, everything finally clicks: when you play the song perfectly, ace the test, win the big game. Those moments are incredibly satisfying. But they’re also a problem.
Here’s why: focusing on the big …

A Solution for “The Parent Problem”

To Learn Faster, Raise the Stakes

The other day Stephen, my daughter’s violin teacher, pointed out a pattern he’d noticed when he was teaching his students to play difficult passages.
When he instructed students to try to play it perfectly five times, the kids learned slowly. Some kids took thirty tries to get the five perfect ones; others took a hundred; some …

How to Make Learning Addictive

I’m about the ten-millionth person to make this point, but wouldn’t it be great if we could learn everything as fast and efficiently as we learn video games? If we could learn to play violin or write computer code as quickly as we learn Madden or Halo?
With that in mind, here’s a video-game term that …

Q: What Stands Between You and Better Performance? (A: You)