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Amidst my piano “practicing” (henceforth referred to as “playing” as I read is beneficial for teaching children)… I have been putting in time at school and at home. Fortunately today, I got an inadvertent compliment from a student while I was playing (practicing) piano… specifically while I was playing the four chords: E, A, and B Major and a C#minor… “Mr. Petlak! I didn’t know you could play piano!” And naturally, in my typical self-deprecating manner, I responded “I can’t”, while laughing. She proceeded to tell me about how she likes to sing and make music but doesn’t feel she has the instrumental talent to support it. She even said she considered taking the Acapella angle (which I had tried in weeks past to loop my music).

Holy parallels, Batman.

I didn’t really grasp the depth of the conversation at the time but it was not only a connection made between two individuals around a love of music… but also a sharing of the struggle to express yourself via music… which sounds strikingly similar to that of the frustrations of an English language learner. Music has its own language. However, I never considered drawing a parallel between language learning and music learning. In light of this… it’s helping me to be more realistic and avoid frustration when I feel like I’m not learning piano as fast as I should be… and also appreciate the learning process in my classroom. I searched up if there was any correlation between the two and, I found on The Guardian that “just one hour a week of learning music is enough for the full brain benefits to take place – including an all-round boost in language skills and a significant increase in IQ.” Learning music can even help language learners? Does engagement have anything to do with this for language learners (Love music –> Engaged learner –> Learning language)?


Doll Star Fig Street Performer via Pixabay

In addition to the learning and relationship connections the student’s comment presented… I also received some of my first feedback from another individual albeit mildly non-descript. And I forgot about the importance of feedback until Sarah Wandy referenced it amidst her guitar learning. Am I perhaps too hard on myself? Or not hard enough? And written feedback through social media is great… but what about oral feedback? Sarah, also mentioned someone she was learning from told her “that it takes time to see progress!” And while I am impatient when it comes to playing the piano… I can take comfort knowing that if I just keep playing, everything helps!

Feedback, thoughts, questions? Let me know!

– Logan Petlak

Ps… I did this post entirely on my phone. Self-back-pat!