September saw the visit of renowned music physiologist specialist, Michael Griffin, to NCS.
He presented Years 6 to 8 and parents a series of talks dedicated to his thoughts and reflections on instrumental practice. As the author of 2013 book ‘Learning Strategies for Musical Success’, Michael gave key insight into the science behind what makes perfect, and effective, practice in his bid to unpick the ago-old notion that musical success is inherent to an individual’s DNA, and unattainable to others. Instead, he highlighted the important balance between the quality of practice, versus the quantity of time spent on specific areas in order to make noticeable, as a way of an individual seeing noticeable improvement in both their short, and long term musical studies. He touched on methods such as ‘chunking’, varying repetitive practice, and focusing as much time as possible on areas of difficulty to improve, rather than merely repeating sections that are already easy. All of these methods aid the development of the effortless chemical, Myelin, found in the central nervous system, which increases the speed of nerve impulses, ultimately making a repetitive action feel easy. In addition, Michael also encouraged the boys to explore beyond individual notes on the page when discovering a piece, and instead, to make lateral connections between harmonic and melodic patterns in order to uncover the underlying structures in music that they can ultimately master, and enjoy performing. This hugely insightful, and inspiring talk left a noticeable impact on the boys, not just with regards to their instrumental studies, but the application of these ideas to their wider academic, and extracurricular pursuits. Many thanks to Michael for visiting us!