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Music teacher breaks new ground with TAGteach

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The following success story was posted to the TAGteach Yahoo Group:

I just wanted to say again how much I enjoyed your TAGteach seminar in Sanford last week. It has really changed not only how I view teaching music and training dogs, but how I view all human interactions.

I just had to share two events that happened this weekend. First, I taught three violin lessons this morning before going into the office...I decided to make a conscious effort to implement the TAGteach principles, although I didn't have a tagger with me. All of my students were learning new music, so it was a good opportunity to implement the ideas we talked about last Friday. When working on a new passage, I had the students focus on one tag point at a time: intonation on a particular note, rhythm, or bowing. Normally, I would break down the passage into these elements, but would often "correct" some of the other elements while they were working on one element. Today, I decided I wouldn't do that: When a student was working on intonation, I didn't care if the bowing or the rhythm fell apart, and if we were working on rhythm, I wouldn't worry if the intonation wasn't right.

It worked beautifully! It was difficult for me to ignore the "off point" errors at first. But I found that if I did, and it was a tag we had just worked on, they would often correct the "off point" errors on their own in subsequent repetitions of working on the new tag.

Not only did the students learn the material, but I noticed such a change in their attitude. One girl in particular is quite reserved and generally does not show much emotion. But by focusing on what she was doing right, rather than on what she was doing wrong, I could tell by her expression that she felt so good about what she was doing! I even would ask her to identify in a given passage what she had the most difficulty with and I would use that as a starting tag. She walked out of her lesson with such a big smile on her face. It made me feel SO great.

One more thing...I went to dog training class last night. It is a very informal class and people work with whatever they want to with their dogs and clicks are flying everywhere. Anyway, I was working on teaching my dog to go over a jump when I was standing on the other side of it. Instead of jumping over the jump, she would run around it. The instructor had a suggestion for how to address the problem...but for the first time, I had the confidence to look at my dog and say, "no, I think I will try it this way." And so I tried it the way that I thought would work best for my dog, and she got it in a few repetitions. Having the confidence to figure out a solution to a dog training problem on my own is HUGE—I am always looking to someone else to tell me HOW to fix something. So the seminar has really given me the confidence to become a clicker trainer, not just a trainer with a clicker.

—SB in Florida

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