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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.