Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Published Tuesday, September 24, 2019 with 3 comments

Let’s Play A Little for A Change

See how two InstaTeam teams came together to interchange their learning to broaden their horizons.

Emma learns piano at the music school. She is 11 years old and has been learning piano since she was six. Although proud of her piano skills, Emma’s mother, Laura, was concerned about her lack of outdoor exposure. All Emma likes to do is either read or be with her music. Laura wanted Emma to go out and play. Laura discussed her problem with Emma’s teacher, Catherine. Catherine remembered reading an article about Micheline Ostermeyer, an Olympic champion in shotput who also was a professional pianist. The star athlete and pianist had expressed in that while her sports experience helped relax her, and playing piano gave her a sense of motion and rhythm. She was quoted in the article saying, “the qualities that make a true artist are nearly the same qualities that make a true athlete”. Catherine was intrigued by the concept and wanted to give it a try. Laura too was excited at such a possibility. They looked up athletic teams in the vicinity, got in touch with them and tried to explain what they were trying to do. A youth football team coach agreed.

One fine Saturday morning, the young boys and girls from piano school were called to the field to play football and the football players were taken to the music school to play the piano. Both, the coach and piano teacher, made the sessions for their new learners simple and fun. And to everyone’s delight the experiment worked. Kids had a gala time. And working on skills apart from their core strengths not only brought a pleasant change, but also helped with skillsets the kids would otherwise barely hone.

Laura saw how the piano kids loved to loosen themselves on the field. She saw Emma running, falling, getting hurt and getting up to run again; a part of her childhood that she had totally missed out on. And the fact that it wasn’t a competition made the game even more fun. Coach Denver also introduced some fun exercises and games that kids thoroughly enjoyed.

The athletes, on the other hand, initially looked at the whole piano-lessons thing as a compulsion. But as soon as the teacher made them comfortable and played their favorite songs, the kids warmed up to the class. They learned different fun tunes, also sang. Laughing and singing together was a great exercise, it helped them loosen up. The boys started looking at their piano classes as a welcome change. A few sessions on, some of them actually started picking up piano lessons well.

Changes reflected not only on their skills abut on their attitudes as well. Both athletes and pianists were better at their core skills and enthused about the other. The experiment has worked great for all involved.

Coach Denver says, “while earlier all the boys would do is play, playing (piano) for a change has done the boys good beyond what the game could do to them”. And Catherine, the piano teacher feels the exercise and a breath of fresh air has helped her students improve not just their physical strength but their emotional strength as well.