Thursday, September 25, 2008

iPhone music geek

I'm enjoying my iPhone enormously.  It's my portable brain, and my CD collection in one.

I've signed up for the One-to-One Training offered at the MacStore, as we're an Apple Organisation, well worth the modest investment.  My trainer told me about a little App called Midomi which allows you to search for music by humming or singing a few bars, or by mis-spelling the band or song title, or by "grabbing" a sample of what the radio's playing.  From there, you can play an audio file or YouTube file, or buy the song from iTunes.  It's free and I've had heaps of fun with it.  It is actually useful when people say, "Can you get me the music to that song, that song that goes da-da-daaa-da-da?"  If you sing really badly, it won't find the track you intended, but you'll laugh a lot at the suggested songs.

I also have "Pianist" by Moocow Music.  So I always have a keyboard with me in my phone.  That cost a princely AUD$8.  There is a Guitar version too.

Who knew life would be better with these toys?  They make useful bribes for boisterous young students - cooperative behaviour earns the right to play with my phone.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Risk Aversion in Our Kids

Out of control perfectionism is something I see from time to time.  The student who won't attempt a piece unless she is convinced she can play it perfectly.  Or the student who thinks something horrible will happen if he makes a mistake.

What I have noticed recently, is that most kids I meet aged between 5-10 suffer from this at the moment.  Perfectionism is part of the zeitgeist for this generation.  I really wonder why.  It would be convenient to blame the parents.  Or the schools.  Yeah, actually, I do blame the schools - a bit. Not individual teachers, but the school system.  Mostly, I think it's just "out there".  So we, as a society, are all contributing to that.

Let's do something about it.  I'm not in favour of celebrating mediocrity. I am in favour of celebrating real effort as well as achievement. I am in favour of encouraging our kids to experiment, to try again but maybe try something else.  I recently coined an aphorism:

It's more important to be able to make it right, than to get it right.

It's nice when we get it right, but we don't learn much.  We learn when we get it wrong, and we adapt, and then we get it right.  We learn the most, when we get it wrong, try something else, still get it wrong, try something different again, and then get it right.  

We own our own success when we have striven, we have the joy of the success, and the confidence that we can create success again.  We learn that failure is a tool that we can use, not a personal defect.  We learn that success is process more than an outcome.  We learn resilience.

I want that for our children.  I want that for myself.  I want that for our world.