Frances Wilson on Marginal Gain Learning:
Learning music is hard: from the junior student faced with just three or four lines of music to the advanced pianist embarking on a full-length piano sonata or multi-movement work, the learning and upkeep of all those notes is a daunting prospect and requires many hours of consistent, thoughtful practise. For me, MGL is a way of “being kind” to yourself as a musician while also enabling one to practise and process music in a meticulous and mindful way. The trouble is, we tend to define achievement through one significant moment – learning a whole page or movement of a piece of music, for example – and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis which accumulate to create a significant whole.MGL is a training strategy that emphasizes making tiny incremental gains over a long period of time in order to maximize performance. I particularly like how Frances explains her process in utilizing these strategies for both music learning and teaching.
Musicians have much to learn from the world of training and productivity processes. Over the next while I'll be looking at how I use several of these to drive pedagogical and organizational aspects of the work I do at present.