Mastery of Tools–Keypad
Found in: Playing-Based Methodology
I have a question re: the Keypad (KP) skill and how it relates to multi-sensory learning.
It seems that multi-sensory learning would mean using all your senses. The keypad separates out the senses and excludes sound. I believe it works, but It seems counter-intuitive. Therefore I have a hard time explaining it.
Gordon Harvey, Australia
Here’s a brief response:
Although we are, indeed, a multi-sensory approach, we’re also a STP (single thought process) approach. So we don’t need to exploit every sense all the time. We have the luxury of choosing the tools we want to use at any time. Over many years and with many students, we’ve found combinations of visual, tactile, and auditory learning that work in different applications.
The trouble with auditory learning is that, in a way, it’s too easy. Many students have such a ‘good ear’ that they rely on it for too much of their learning and can be a little lazy with the other learning skills. They’ll play through a pattern, paying more attention to the sound than to what the fingers are doing or what the pattern looks like, think to themselves “yep, that sounds right” and think they’ve learned the task. In reality, it hasn’t sunk in as deeply as it needs to. The result will be that they forget the song sometimes, stumble in their playing, or struggle on an instrument that sounds different to their own.
The Practice Pad gives them the opportunity to focus on the visual and physical learning. This is one of the reasons behind the experience Sheri Reingold recently explained in the excellent original post in this thread. To extend one of her metaphors, you could think of the ear as glue, which, although not good enough to hold a house together on its own, is nevertheless essential for some aspects of building. Sheri explains the process when she talks about ‘multi-sensory layering’. We’ll utilize the tools most effectively when they are used in a particular order, according to the task, rather than all at once.
Cindy B., Illinois
The keypad truly reduces the learning process to a single thought process. Without the auditory, and tactile geography of the keys, there is left only the brain between the information and the fingers – which is an awesome way to build up the brain muscle!
Sheri R., California
Think single-thought process learning environment. Using all the senses (multi-sensory), but layering the senses (multi-sensory layering) so we’re not bombarded with sensory overload.
Think Ode to Joy. “Say these 3 simple concepts, bottom, middle, and top. Say these 3 simple sentences, middle to bottom, etc. How does that look on the board? Now let’s look at our hands, here is the bottom, middle, and top fingers. Now here are the sentences. . . Now, let’s do that on the back of the keypad (still no keyboard visual). Now let’s do it on the right side of the keypad. Now let’s figure out the counting. Again, on the back, then the front of the keypad. Now finally let’s see how that sounds on the piano. . .”
Imagine learning the concepts, the pattern, the counting, both hands, etc. from the get go on the piano. Would take much longer. Neil, you’re a genius!
So yes, multi-sensory learning environment by way of single-thought process layering of the senses, not using them all at once from the beginning, but yes, using them all.