Monday, March 14, 2011

It Is the Process That Is Important

I have halted my Arabic studies for the time being.  I burned myself out right around the 60 day mark.  Even though I am burned out on Arabic, I am still very excited to get back to Italian, and I may even start working on Italian again earlier than I had prescribed.

Vocally things are going very well.  Singing above the staff gets easier and easier as the weeks go by.

Methodology Minute

In all skill areas there are generally different methods which are touted by different people, all claiming that theirs is the best and/or only way to learn.  These beliefs can, and often do, lead to arguments or at the very least heated discussions.  I am going to fly in the face of these people today and say that at the beginning of one's study, any method will work.  Until a person reaches a level where they need to begin to refine their skill the act of doing something will achieve results.  If we are discussing this in terms of language study, there are hundreds of books, CDs and software programs available targeted at beginners.  Any of these will give the learner an insight into the language of choice and any one will get them to at least an upper beginner level of use in the language.

At the beginning of studies, the most important thing is exposure to the language.  Once the learner has a strong grasp of the basics of the language, then they can begin to direct their studies toward their particular weaknesses.  A person does not know what their weaknesses are until they can at least use the language somewhat.  Personally, I have used different resources to begin my studies on every language I have worked on.  What I have come away with is that as long as I have something to look through and study I have progressed to a similar point in every single language.  So my advice is to find inexpensive resources at first for your language studies, once you understand what your weaknesses are, then you can begin to delve into the wealth of strategies that abound for language acquisition.

This also can be applied to other skill areas as well.  In most skills, the basics are the same across the board so learn the basics the least expensive way possible.  Then it will be possible for you to refine your skills with the best resources available later on.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

العربية -- أسبوع ٩ 

I decided to take the week off from most of my active studying.  I still did some listening and my Anki, but otherwise I was feeling a little burnt out so I took a break.

Vocally progress is still steady.

Methodology Minute - The Importance of Rest

I wrote on this in an earlier post, but I believe that in most skill acquisition rest is an important part of the process.  The most typical application of this concept is can be found in weight training.  The body does not actually build muscle during the lifting itself, but during the rest period in between sessions.  I believe that the same thing occurs during all fields of learning.  In voice training, the muscles of the voice need time to rebuild stronger from the exercises performed.  In exercises of the mind, it is good to give the brain some time to process what it has learned.    

I have found that after periods of rest, I come back to my studies or vocal training stronger and with a renewed energy.  There is a limit I believe to the amount of rest that can be taken before it becomes to much and has a detrimental effect.  Sometimes, coming back from a prolonged rest I find things to be more difficult.  However, in physical training about 2-4 days rest seems to be optimal.  Mental rest, on the other hand, is dependent  on the person.  I think that while one make take a rest from learning new things, I still think that some small review during the session of rest is beneficial to not totally allow the brain to shut down.