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by Khoo Hui Ling
How many of us have practised whilst mulling over dinner possibilities? Or perhaps have unknowingly slid into ‘OCD’ repetition mode during a practice session? Surely we have at some point realized with a jolt that we are forgetting to listen intently to ourselves?
We’ve all been there, because we are human. However, students often get lost in there, the doldrums of unfocused practising, unable to find their way out. To help students navigate out of this vicious cycle, I have to script their inner conversation.
For inside each of us, there lives a little voice. We are always having conversations with this little voice. It is a way of perceiving our surroundings, a means to making decisions. Teaching students to be aware of and to use this inner conversation is the key to effective and efficient practice.
How To Develop An Inner Conversation
The skilful use of concise language to teach is imperative in developing a strong inner conversation for students. Professor of Piano at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory Thomas Hecht is a master at that. Dr. Hecht is a very dear teacher who apart from imparting enduring life lessons, also taught me how to listen and not merely hear. In a recent presentation entitled “Launching My ‘SMART’ Piano Studio”, Dr. Hecht showed how his teaching concepts have been economically abbreviated into interactive ‘apps’ which are screened onto a wall right in front of students in his studio. The Gattacca of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory!