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Are you a Miss (or Mr) Wall to Learning?

Are you a Miss (or Mr) Wall to Learning?

I first started to learn to play the piano at the age of about 5, having shown an 'inclination' at a very young age. (I used to clamber on to the piano stool and bash at the keys, but hey, parents will cling to anything!) My first teacher had been my Dad's. This was unfortunate, because by the time he started teaching me, he was, well, old. He would regularly fall asleep during my lessons and whilst I tried to wake him up by playing more loudly, it didn't always work. 

I soon gave up my lessons altogether. 

A few years later however, I decided to try again. I found a teacher I loved - a teeny weeny lady, who reminded me of Mrs Pepperpot; though her name was Miss Wall. (She'd retained her 'professional' maiden name, which was slightly confusing, because her married name was Mrs Hall.) An elderly lady, with a baby grand that took up her entire back room, Miss Wall made learning fun. She encouraged me to learn to play pieces I enjoyed, and she didn't restrict me solely to the classical stuff. I may not have always perfected the disciplines of rhythm, or the technicalities of scales and arpeggios, which remained a chore, but under her guidance I came to understand phrasing, the emotion, and sheer poetry of music, and I sailed through my first few grades with great marks. It was only when she too retired, for health reasons, and my lessons were taken up by teachers at secondary school, that my progress stalled again. I did manage eventually to just about scrape my Grade 7, but there was little joy involved in that. My memories of that latter period of learning are of trying to 'wing it' when I'd not done any practice and bitterly resenting the teacher who was always telling me off or showing me 'how it should be done' loudly, and with obvious frustration. Those latter lessons were all so different from the days when I'd wanted to impress Miss Wall each week and had thrived on her praise.

Reflecting on these experiences helps me to remember the type of trainer I strive to be. We can all be that person who gives information, tells their 'students' 'this is how you must do it' and drills them with practice until they can replicate us; or we can choose to be a Miss Wall. 

A Miss Wall is the type of trainer who encourages you to challenge yourself, to make mistakes and fall over, and who reinforces every step of progress with praise. A Miss Wall is the trainer who builds your self-esteem and self-belief by showing a belief in your abilities, rather than theirs. Above all, a Miss Wall is the sort of trainer who thinks learning should be fun and exciting; something you enjoy and look forward to, and something that is driven by your desire to learn, rather than their desire to 'tell'.

If you too strive to be a Miss (or Mr) Wall of learning, then our Training Activities are the tool for you. They will help you become an inspirational leader of learning, rather than a dry source of knowledge and information.

February 6 2018 Rod Webb
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Rod Webb

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