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The Whole Musician: A Multi-Sensory Guide to Practice, Performance and Pedagogy Paperback – July 3, 2013
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This book is an absolute goldmine for musicians (including professionals, amateurs, teachers, and students) who are interested in different learning styles, and how to take advantage of those differences to enhance musicianship, performance, and music education.
It was particularly intriguing for me to read about the human senses, and how we process and experience our world - whether it is visual, auditory, or kinesthetic (or even gustatory or olfactory)!
"The Whole Musician" is full of strategies, examples, and ideas that speak to the different ways in which we learn, and how to take advantage of these various sensory modalities to inspire, to connect and build the rapport between teacher and student.
The pages of my copy are now covered with highlighted sections that I know I will return to again, and again. As a music teacher, I was reading this book, and feeling excited to try out Susan Bruckner's exercises with my own students. At the same time, I was reading and feeling energized to use her ideas with my own practice and creativity.
In addition to other topics, the Whole Musician is a great resource for identifying and teaching modalities (learning styles). It is particularly useful and unique in applying both verbal and non-verbal cues to the teaching of music.
While there are other books covering similar topics none quite compare to the unique approach offered by Susan Bruckner.
Applying this book changed my own teaching and has enabled me to be a much more effective communicator and teacher.
Ms. Bruckner writes about the importance of establishing rapport with students as a way to diagnose their learning style. She writes, “When rapport is established, you begin to enter that person’s world, trying on their shoes so to speak. This allows you to stretch your own viewpoint of the world and it invariably offers creative ways of solving problems that you might not have thought of otherwise. When you begin to walk their walk and talk their talk, you begin to gain credibility in the eyes of the students.” She gives very specific ideas on how to establish rapport with students and determine their learning style. The details she gives about the major learning styles (auditory, visual, kinesthetic) have helped me understand students that I didn’t understand before. I knew they didn’t learn like I do, but I didn’t know HOW they learn and the best way to reach them.
One of the most important ways Bruckner’s book has changed my teaching is very simple. I deleted the word “but” from my vocabulary. She writes, “Delete ‘but’ from your musical coaching. You begin by saying, “Your tone is beautiful, but can you keep a steady tempo?” The brain will tend to negate any phrase that comes before the word ‘but’ and only hear the words after.”
I would highly recommend this book to any teacher. I refer to it frequently when a student is not progressing. I always come away with something new to try.