Developing Musical Skill

September 15 2019 with Michael Griffin



The internal drive that underpins choices, decisions and actions such as music practice, relies on the
greatest of all motivators – making progress. Indeed, where there is no progress in skill
development, learners usually quit the activity. For musical progress, nothing is as important as the
quality and the quantity of practice time. This inspiring interactive presentation will equip students,
teachers, adult learners, and parents with the methods and mindset required to maximise the
prospect of learning music enjoyably and successfully.

Content and concepts include • repetition (blocked, variable, interleaved and spaced) for brain
myelination • chunking (recognising patterns and how theory helps; short-term memory
considerations) • slow practice (the brain’s learning preference) • quantity for expertise (Ericsson’s
violinists)* • growth mindset

* In 1993 Anders Ericsson published the results of a study on a group of violin students in a music academy in Berlin that found that the most accomplished of those students had put in an average of ten thousand hours of practice by the time they were twenty years old.


– Tim Garrard, Westminster School, London: “Who’d have thought that a talk about instrumental practice could be so fascinating?! With huge thanks to Michael Griffin for visiting us!”

–Headington Girls, Oxford:”First rate!”

– Red Maids, Bristol:”This was a first-class talk by a high calibre, international speaker. What a great start to a new school year.”

– Red Maids student, Bristol: “I went straight home and practiced!

-Gemma Russell, Wycliffe College: “I want to thank you for giving such an inspiring presentation to our pupils, parents and staff yesterday. Every pupil I have spoken to today who was at the presentation has said how much they enjoyed it and how much it made them think. “Chunking” will certainly be our word of the month! Ifeel very fortunate that you came to Wycliffe and I hope many other schools will be able to see yourpresentation in the future.”

– Headmaster, King’s High School, Warwick:”An excellent talk this evening. Michael is a superb speaker and delivered key messages in such an engaging way to our parents.”

– Hampshire Youth Orchestra: “It was great that we parents had the opportunity to listen to this with our son.”

– Hampshire Youth Orchestra: “The talk by Michael Griffin was so encouraging and useful. We came as a family and our daughters age 11 and 8 enjoyed every minute of it.”