Lots of guest teachers

We’ve had a whole fleet of special guests already this semester. Bo Larsson came to share some Uppland fiddle tunes, stories about Viksta-Lasse, some show-and-tell, and a couple of songs, and then after lunch he also played for dancing. Mats Andersson helped us prepare for our Wik visit by teaching us about writing lead sheets for some of the kinds of instruments we’d encounter, and suggesting some arrangement ideas for our chosen tunes. Kristina Lund came to do some vocal training and performance preparation exercises.

The most useful to me personally so far, though, have been our most recent two visitors.

Markus Svensson taught us some new tunes and recorded a whole slew more for us to work on later if we want, which was great fun. He also offered an insightful session about how to think about practicing. I have heard previously each individual piece of what he said, but somehow he still made new connections that hadn’t quite occurred to me. The most immediately useful bit was a tie-in between “our brains learn exactly what we feed them, so be careful about what you repeat” and how short focused stints of practicing (he suggests 3 minutes per day on each of 4 concrete accessible main tasks) are an opportunity to create a positive feedback loop: if you feel good about each day’s accomplishments, you can ensure that your practice time feels fun and productive. The attitudinal piece was the somehow-new bit, a timely reminder of a simple way to be nice to yourself.

We had a morning with Kjell-Erik Eriksson this week, which was fun both for new tunes and for pedagogical technique. We did a lot of our tune-learning without playing, and much of it without making any sound. He pushed that farther and in slightly different directions than I’ve seen before, with highly successful results. I’m looking forward to trying that out on future classes.

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