Hazel Buchanan

Click here to edit subtitle


The more I learn...

Posted by Hazel Buchanan on 7 March, 2016 at 3:30

“The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.”


Was there ever a greater truth? I would love to be able to attribute this quotation accurately, but for once the Genius Google has let me down. Socrates or Albert Einstein? It remains a moot point, doubtless with passionate debaters on both sides. I find myself leaning towards Socrates, on the simple basis that someone must surely have said it long before Einstein was born. But I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't really matter. It shouldn't have required a genius to articulate for the rest of us such a profound but obvious truth. It is comforting to conjecture, though, that even some of our greatest thinkers and philosophers have been painfully aware of the limits of their own learning.


Music, which I teach for a living, must be the archetypal rug-puller when it comes to discovering our own limitations. Every day, I'm working with students - often very smart, switched-on, focused kids - who are right at the beginning of their journey with the musical instrument they have chosen to play. Just occasionally, a student will come along who seems almost tailor-made to play the clarinet or sax they have just picked up. And sometimes a child doing particularly well on one instrument decides to take up another, and does it with panache. But even for the ones who find the initial process relatively easy, the learning curve of studying a musical instrument is steep and never smooth.

It's just as well that so many of us start out in blissful ignorance. The belief that the hill we are setting out to climb is fairly small with a relatively gentle incline is surely the only reason we consider the attempt. If the entire rocky mountainside, with all its pitfalls and plateaux, crevices and cracks, was revealed from the beginning in full dramatic splendour, who among us would dare to take those first tentative steps? I wouldn't have very many students, of that I'm sure.

As it is, a music student's view of the landscape ahead of them is, nearly always, mercifully blinkered. Wilfully so, in fact. If not humouressly. I've lost count of the number of primary kids who've come along to their first or second lesson and announced that they want to play jazz or 'the sax riff from that Dire Straits' track'. And, look, I'm all for having ambition and identifying a dream; but I know they mean they want to learn it now or maybe, at a stretch, next week.

"Sure," I tell them, with (what I hope is) an encouraging smile. "And we'll get to that. But you'll need to learn a few more notes first. How did you go with B, A and G? Have you been practising what I showed you?"

"Oh, I didn't have much time this week..."

Time - efficient and effective practice time - is what it's all about. Perhaps it's the cynic coming out in me, but I've never really figured out what's so mystifying about that. I would like to be able to say I've found a way to communicate that concept to all of my students and their parents.

"Just imagine," I often say to them, "that a kindergarten child is trying to learn to read, but the only time they get to see and hold a book is for one half hour session a week. How long would it take them to grasp even the very basics? Now, imagine how much difference it would make if that same child was able to spend an additional 10 to 15 minutes practising their reading at least 5 times a week."

For some, the penny drops. But for far too many, just taking the first few steps up that hill is going to be a long, hard, painful slog. And it's for those kids, in particular, that it's just as well the bulk of the mountain is shrouded in fog. Of course, a few of them will plod along for a bit, making little or no progress, and inevitably give up. The motivated ones, having started, will surge ahead regardless of how rocky the path ahead appears in the little glimpses they get through the mist. The rest will have to be nurtured if they are ever going to advance a reasonable distance along their own path. They'll have to be encouraged, cajoled, rewarded, inspired and, at times, not so gently prodded. And that, in a nutshell, is my job. Except that it's also the job of their parents. And too many of them aren't even looking at the same hill.

So what's the point?

For the ones who give up before they've even started? Absolutely nothing.

For those who race ahead, leaping the smaller obstacles and accepting a hand with the bigger ones? Everything. The joy of making music; the indescribable gratification that comes from producing a beautiful moment of sound with a group of other people; the satisfaction of learning and moving forward; the achievement of success; the ability to work in a team; discipline; self-motivation; a one-on-one evolving relationship with a dedicated teacher; the development and maintenance of cross-brain connections; a glimpse of the top of the mountain... The list goes on.

And for those who will never reach the top, but make a bit of headway with an awful lot of support? Well, they get a commensurate share of the rewards. As the conductor of the Youth Symphony Orchestra I attended always used to say, "You only get out of life what you're prepared to put in."

The further you go up the mountain, the clearer that becomes.

Categories: Education

Post a Comment


Oops, you forgot something.


The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.

Already a member? Sign In


Reply BlonelT
23:12 on 20 November, 2022 
7 38 of 215 of the placebo group stromectol pill for humans There seems to be some degree of synergy with abdominal irradiation and the risk may correlate with the dose of radiation and perhaps also the dose of actinomycin D
Reply Plopype
10:23 on 22 November, 2022 
Individuals taking Crestor should anticipate a reduction in total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides with a concomitant increase in high density lipoprotein HDL cholesterol how does lasix cause renal failure 6308 LD50, mol kg Not applicable hERG inhibition predictor I Weak inhibitor 0
Reply Escancits
16:16 on 7 December, 2022 
buy cheap finasteride paracetamol ciprofloxacina injectabil anm U
Reply broomoDub
11:16 on 10 December, 2022 
There are three hundred great talents and nearly ten thousand doctors cialis levitra pfizer
Reply sapNarics
1:09 on 11 December, 2022 
Estimating Your Melanoma Risk buy cialis online using paypal Monitor Closely 2 chloroquine will increase the level or effect of desipramine by affecting hepatic enzyme CYP2D6 metabolism
Reply cinvask
16:34 on 11 December, 2022 
comprar accutane in usa lithobid clomid pct side effects reddit The effects of any failure to repay the debt would be felt right away, leading to potentially major disruptions in financial markets, he said
13:33 on 12 December, 2022 
clomid ?? Randal AxTLCkrIvpMq 6 17 2022
Reply cinvask
7:46 on 13 December, 2022 
volmax nexium hp7 chemist warehouse After consulting with the lawyers for both sides, the judge sent the jurors a reply that said the court cannot engage in general discussions on the charge, and added, If you have a specific question please submit it ivermectine online 1995 May; 15 3 501 14; discussion 515 6
20:25 on 14 December, 2022 
lasix uk online We ve both been tested, taking FertilAid, Preseed, Mucinex you name it
Reply broomoDub
22:59 on 14 December, 2022 
levitra equivalent Remember, mood swings are a common experience during infertility treatment
Reply sapNarics
22:59 on 14 December, 2022 
how much azithromycin is needed to cure chlamydia A dental sealant is a liquid that is applied to the teeth
Reply Escancits
23:07 on 14 December, 2022 
That was frustrating for me how to buy cialis Fortunately, we can help
Reply Escancits
1:23 on 16 December, 2022 
where do they sell viagra But he s just another lecherous and boneless high blood blood pressure changes with medication change high pressure medicine rosmidie man, I thought he would ibuprofen blood pressure fight me hard
Reply broomoDub
13:22 on 18 December, 2022 
buy stromectol pills Muchos Gracias for your article
Reply hydrams
21:23 on 25 January, 2023 
Given gene expression data _, which includes n genes and m samples with two conditions to study aberrant signal pathway transduction between conditions, we derive gene potential _ theta_ defined as the sum of pathway gene differential expression z scores between the two types 37; edge potential _ theta_ theta_ defined as the sum of z scores calculated from the statistical significance of Pearson s correlation between interacting genes 38; and flow potential _, defined as a proportionally score reflecting the concordance between a pathway and prior information regarding cellular location 39 tamoxifen usage Millions of patients undergo cardiac and vascular surgery CVS every year in developed countries alone
Reply pizAllell
21:35 on 25 January, 2023 
clomid and nolvadex pct S2 tended to cluster separately from women with low inflammation, while no clear grouping was observed by STI status or chemokine profiles Additional file 1 Fig
Reply imaluerma
18:13 on 27 January, 2023 
I was over the moon and couldn t wait to tell DH doxycycline killed my dog
Reply grooribly
8:39 on 28 January, 2023 
buy ivermectin tablets No one found them when they Herbs To Help Lower Blood Sugar does tamoxifen cause high blood sugar came in, non diabetic glucose levels and they were able to retreat
Reply minvame
17:14 on 28 January, 2023 
Cordotomy resulted in excellent long term relief at the expense of generalized weakness, mirror pain, and temporary hemiparesis cialis tablets for sale In one cross- sectional study of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women s Health ALSWH, researchers found that 72 of women with PCOS reported infertility
Reply grooribly
18:51 on 28 January, 2023 
Three patients had associated hypoparathyroidism buying cialis online forum Lead optimization programs, based on the naturally occurring aridicins 21, kibdelins 22, and parvodicins A40926 23, all of which have a teicoplanin like core heptapeptide, generated semisynthetic lipoglycopeptides with diverse acyl, aryl, and or alkyl side chains Fig