In-Depth Week 11: Coming to an Understanding

Since the last post, I met with my mentor once, as it was quite difficult to meet over the spring break since I was volunteering both weeks and there was the Easter weekend too. But I was assigned a more challenging song which I practiced a lot over the past couple weeks. It’s a famous song in China, and it’s supposed to mimic the beating of a drum. Yuwen and I are still trying to decide what song we should play at In-Depth night, but I’ve made good progress in the third book, learning many new techniques, such as covering the bridge of the guzheng to produce the drum beating sounds.

  1. What kinds of learning opportunities does the mentor provide to expose you to new learning?

My mentor provides me with many hands-on opportunities to play the guzheng and lets me try a lot of things by myself. She has also given me many challenges in the form of new pieces with an influx of technical aspects and tricky rhythms to work with.

  1. What kinds of learning opportunities exist to reinforce new learning?

I think that I can continue to practice, but I should also consider watching performances of other guzheng players. If there are any concerts anytime soon, I’ll go attend and learn more about how to perform. I can also try going on YouTube to find recorded performances and see how it’s done by the professionals. Even better, I could ask my mentor for tips.

  1. What kinds of opportunities exist that might accelerate learning?

There are many opportunities that I could take, such as discussing more in-depth with my teacher. I could also start recording lessons or taking audio clips to figure out where my mistakes are.

  1. When you get together what do you talk about?

Of course, when we get together, my mentor and I talk about the guzheng and what piece that Yuwen and I should play for our performance. We also talk about new techniques to be learned. Sometimes, we also discuss Chinese culture when we talk about pieces and where they originated from.

  1. What is going particularly well in your mentoring relationship right now?

Right now, I think I’m understanding my mentor a lot better, and I’m beginning to see that she wants us the two of us to be really self-directed, which is good in some respects. But I also think that there’s actually a lot of communication that could be improved on, and more guidance to be given. I feel rather unsatisfied with our current relationship, but as somebody who is inferior to my mentor and there be language barriers, I can’t express myself which is slightly frustrating.

  1. What are you learning about one another?

I think my mentor is learning more about my temperament and how I respond to challenges. As for me, I’m discovering that my mentor has a very relaxed approach to teaching, and that she prefers for Yuwen and I to have a hands-on experience where we try a lot of things by ourselves.

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