Note: This is the second in a series of articles focused on foundational skills needed in being an English language instructor.
I think I was about six when my mom decided we needed a piano. None of us played the piano, but somehow she convinced all of us that we needed one and she ‘voluntold’ my brother and me that we would be joining her in taking lessons.
A few weeks later, a brand new upright Baldwin arrived at our house and the three of us headed off to piano lessons from a friend of the family. I can’t say I was the best student, but I think I was better than my brother who promptly quit after about a month of lessons. My mom wasn’t that bad since she had a musical background, but things got too busy for her and she ended up quitting after a few months. That left me as the lone pianist in the family. Since everyone else was quitting, I thought I would give it a try. Sadly, someone had to justify the piano purchase, so I was told in no uncertain terms I was going to continue taking lessons.
Surprisingly, I eventually started to enjoy it and I ended up sticking with piano lessons into college and then again as an adult. I never was very good, but I was good enough. To add to my musical repertoire, I also took up the trumpet and eventually the French horn.
I don’t think I’ve played any of those instruments in the past decade, but what I learned from that time has stuck with me. I can see a lot of parallels between learning to play an instrument and learning another language, especially when it comes to error correction and feedback. Continue reading Correcting