Richard Sparks on Paying Attention to Mistakes

RICHARD SPARKS ON Paying Attention to Mistakes. “‘Brain scan studies reveal a vital instant, .025 seconds after a mistake is made, in which people do one of two things—they look hard at the mistake or they ignore it. People who pay deeper attention to an error learn significantly more than those who ignore it.’ This reminds me of the practice in many British choirs (and many influenced by the practice here in the US) where the choir member raises their hand immediately after they make a mistake. I’ve always thought of this as a way for the chorister to let the conductor know they acknowledge the mistake, meaning it’ll be corrected and no need to stop the rehearsal. But this makes me think that perhaps there’s another reason for this practice: it could literally help the singer learn more quickly from their mistake—and repeat a mistake fewer times (or not at all).


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