Marie – one of our teachers – wanted to introduce a new song to her guitar group. She asked everyone to put their instruments down and listen while she explained the new song and then played it. Marie’s students Paul, Katie and Johanna complied and Marie picked up her guitar and began to play.
Paul was sitting quietly, zoomed-in on Marie’s play and only taking his eyes off of her to study his music sheets every now and again. Katie, also sitting fairly calmly, was listening intently, her eyes almost closed, and started to hum along quietly after a while. Johanna, Katie’s sister, could barely wait for Marie to finish so that she could play the song too. Sitting still and waiting her turn wasn’t easy for her.
Luckily, Johanna didn’t have to wait long. After Marie finished the song she asked her students to pick up their guitars and have a go at it.
Marie knew about her student’s unique learning styles and made sure that she introduced the new song in a manner that allowed each student to learn and process it in their unique ways. (We’ll tell you more about this but let’s look at the different learning styles first.)
What are the different learning styles?
Hans-Peter Becker, founder of Modern Music School, writes about the different learning styles in his book “Unleash the Secret of Education and Learn How to Raise a Happy Child”. With a few simple questions, he can help us to become aware of our own learning styles:
How did you learn in school? What teachers did you learn best from? What did these teachers do?
Did you understand, retain and learn information through:
- Hearing and talking, i.e., auditory
- Seeing and observing, i.e., visual
- Touching and feeling, i.e., haptic/tactile-kinesthetic
- Abstract formulas, i.e., intellectual
- Sentiments, i.e., emotional
If you can determine the answers to these questions, learning will become much easier and much more effective. By identifying and understanding your unique learning style, you can choose methods and techniques corresponding with your dominant channels of perception, and the speed and quality of your learning will be much improved.
Take note that no learning style is better – or worse – than any other. And of course, mixtures of learning styles can also be used.
So back to Paul, Katie and Johanna? Can you guess their learning styles?
Paul is a visual learner. He responds well to visual cues. He needs to watch Marie play and study the sheet music. He likes to color code and highlight his music and take notes.
Katie is an auditory learner. She learns through listening. She needs to hear the new song, and repeating things out loud (humming the song) helps her in her learning process.
Johanna is a haptic/tactile-kinaesthetic learner. She learns best through moving, doing and touching. She needs to imitate and practice what the teacher is doing. A hand-on approach best suits her learning style.
Why not have a conversation with your teacher about learning styles and how you feel that you learn best?