Be realistic Some people are lucky enough to have photographic memories but most of us, unfortunately, do not. Whilst we always encourage students to learn detail this is crucial to access the higher mark tier for most specifications it is important to keep things in perspective. A student who tries to cram in too many facts and figures runs the risk of having a meltdown come exam time. I would say to most of my students to choose three to five key dates or figures to memorise for each case study.
Some students may find drawing out a story-board helpful, while others may want to write notes around a central photograph or sketch.
Mark up the specification This is one of the most useful things I feel I can do as a teacher to help my students prepare for their exams and it is so simple. One way of doing this is by taking the first letters of a string of information you want to remember and then using them to create a more memorable phrase that you find easier to recall than the original information. Rhyming Putting information into a rhyme is another way of making it easier to remember.
An example is the rhyme that helps people remember how many days there are in each month: 30 days hath September, April, June, and November. All the rest have 31 Except February my dear son. It has 28 and that is fine But in Leap Year it has This may prove a more effective way of memorising bigger chunks of information than the mnemonic examples we gave above. Your rhyme could be a little more modern-sounding to help you remember it, or you could use some tried and tested rhyming schemes such as rhyming couplets to help cement facts in your brain.
Close to the Sun, hottest and between us Are the burning fireballs of Mercury and Venus. Next come homely Earth then Mars, then gas giants Jupiter and Saturn — Are you starting to see a planetary pattern? Icy Uranus and Neptune follow, and, bringing up the rear, Humble Pluto — no longer a planet — sheds a tear. This makes it easier to recall the information, because all you have to do is bring to mind the image and you should be able to recall the information. Arrange your notes in a pictorial fashion, such as in a spider diagram where you have the concept in the middle and arrows pointing out of it to different pieces of information.
The musicians provided detailed reports of each feature of the music that they had paid attention to during practice by marking them on copies of the score. Shortly after public performance, they marked additional copies of the score with the musical and technical features that they had thought about during the performance — their PCs.
Comparison of the two sets of reports confirmed that during practice the musicians had paid attention to the places that they later attended to in performance Ginsborg et al. Repeated reports from successive performances demonstrated the stability of PCs over time Chaffin et al. Examination of the recorded practice showed that the musicians had begun building the mental organization needed to perform from memory in their earliest practice sessions, well before they were ready to try playing from memory Chaffin and Imreh, As one of the participants in these longitudinal case studies, the first author of the present study was impressed by the benefits of the method to her own work as a cellist Chaffin et al.
Talking to the camera as she practiced, and marking practice decisions and PCs on the score part of the data collection method made her more aware of her own musical intentions and the strategies she used to achieve them. Although participation in the research was time consuming, she found that her practice became more efficient and her confidence in her memory increased as a result, not only for the piece under study, but also for other pieces.
Other musicians have reported similar benefits Chaffin et al. We suggest that the benefits that the first author noticed were a result of her increased metacognitive awareness of her goals and strategies for practice and memorization.
Metacognition is a critical component of both thinking and learning Veenman and van Hout-Wolters, and its contribution to effective study has received a great deal of attention from educators Zimmerman and Schunk, , including those in music education see, McPherson and Zimmerman, for a review.
The effectiveness of practice increases with experience because more experienced musicians are better able to assess their progress and adjust their practice accordingly Jorgensen, ; Jorgensen and Hallam, The ability to self-monitor and self-regulate develops gradually.
Initially, children often simply play through a piece repeatedly without noticing or correcting mistakes Hallam, ; McPherson and Renwick, ; Lisboa, Advanced students and professionals, in contrast, monitor their playing continuously and adjust their practice strategies accordingly from moment to moment Hallam, ; Nielsen, ; Chaffin et al. Deliberate memorization appears to benefit from the additional reflection and self-monitoring involved in reporting PCs, at least for experienced performers.
We wondered if student musicians could benefit in the same way. Previously, the student had refused to work on memorization or to perform from memory. She had sometimes memorized incidentally, while learning a piece, but the memory was soon gone.
PC-theory suggested that what the student lacked was a retrieval organization to provide her with content addressable access to the serial chain of associations that develops automatically during practice. Despite the well-documented positive effects of self-monitoring and self-regulation, it was not obvious that reporting PCs would have the desired effect.
First, thinking about highly practiced motor skills is often disruptive Beilock and Carr, The student might become discouraged if doing PC reports initially interfered with fluent, well established motor sequences. Second, we did not know if a student could benefit from thinking about PCs in the same way as the teacher, who was a professional soloist with decades of experience. While professional performers have no trouble identifying mental landmarks in a memorized piece, students are able to identify remarkably few Aiello, Third, even highly experienced musicians find reporting PCs burdensome.
Only in the latter stages of her self-study, did the teacher come to appreciate the benefit provided by the additional effort involved Chaffin et al. It was possible that the student would give up before experiencing any benefits. In spite of these uncertainties, the student agreed to try the new method.
The teacher explained to Maria that she had found that reporting her own thoughts during the longitudinal case study improved her ability to practice and memorize; she expected that it would do so for Maria. The teacher offered no explanation as to why reporting thoughts would have these positive effects and avoided any mention of PCs. There were three reasons for this indirect approach. First, the teacher thought that showing the student what to do would be more effective than elaborate verbal explanation, which might be more confusing than illuminating.
Second, the teacher tried to provide Maria with a discovery experience similar to her own during the case study. During that study, the teacher had avoided reading about previous research on PCs and had learned for herself that reporting her thoughts clarified her thinking and provided landmarks for her evolving mental map of the piece.
Third, the teacher wanted to avoid making any suggestion about the kind of thoughts to use as PCs. If Maria was able to benefit from using PCs, it seemed possible that the kinds of thoughts she would find useful would be different from those that her teacher might use. Unlike the teacher, Maria had only a rudimentary knowledge of music theory, a passing familiarity with Western art music, and little experience of performance.
We will describe the thoughts that Maria reported and examine four types of evidence to see if they functioned as PCs Chaffin, Preparation during practice is a defining characteristic of PCs. Second, were her thoughts stable over time? Having the same thoughts at the same locations repeatedly over a period of weeks would indicate that they were a relatively stable part of her playing, another characteristic of PCs.
Third, did her thoughts during performance occur at the same locations as stops and starts in earlier practice sessions? In the studies of professional musicians, this was the main evidence that they used PCs.
Fourth, was her memory more enduring than the temporary memorization that she had achieved in the past? We looked at whether starts and stops during the reconstruction occurred at the same locations as the thoughts that Maria had reported during her last performance, 9 weeks earlier. This would indicate whether her PCs were retained over time and were employed during retrieval from long-term memory.
Materials and Methods The Student and Teacher Maria had taken piano lessons since the age of 4 and now at the age of 18, as she prepared for the transition from high school to higher education, she wanted to be able to play a piece from memory. These examinations do not require playing from memory and Maria had never deliberately set out to memorize a piece. Until this time, she had occasionally memorized pieces incidentally, as an unintended by-product of learning to play it; but after a few weeks the ability to play without the score would be gone.
Now, she wanted to memorize a piece in order to audition for a place at a music academy or, if she went to university, to have something that she could play for friends and family in years to come. Maria came from a middle class family that enjoyed and appreciated the arts. Maria and her younger brother took piano lessons for fun.
Maria also took drama, ballet, and tap dance lessons. She limited her piano practice to 2—4 h a week. After a gap year, Maria went to university to study architecture. At time of publication, Maria was in her third year of study, still played the piano occasionally, and enjoyed going to concerts and listening to music. The teacher was trained in classical cello and piano in Brazil, England and France and performs regularly as a soloist in Europe, the Far-East and the Americas.
She has taught private students of all ages for more than three decades, including many, like Maria, who were not enrolled in music academies.
As a Research Fellow at the Royal College of Music for the past decade, she has studied effective practice techniques by observing both her own playing and that of children.
Teacher and student together chose this piece for Maria to learn and perform from memory because she found its lyrical and romantic style very attractive. In the meanwhile, her playing had progressed and the piece was now more appropriate to her skills. At the beginning of the study, Maria was able to play through the piece with the score but did so haltingly and with extremely limited musical expression.
During the first lesson of the study, the teacher showed Maria how to mark a copy of the score with arrows to indicate the features of the music that she was paying particular attention to during her weekly practice.
Maria told the teacher which features of the music she had attended to and the teacher recorded them on a clean copy of the score, annotating each with an arrow to indicate which aspect of the music was involved, and using different colored inks to represent the classification of each feature as involving musical structure e. A sample report is shown in Figure 1. The teacher retained all reports at the end of each lesson, and Maria used a fresh copy of the score for each report. During this time, she gave five reports of her thoughts during practice and three reports of her thoughts during three of the four memorized performances of the piece during lessons — a total of eight reports.
Table 1 provides a timeline organized in terms of lessons, which took place each week except during week 4, when there were two lessons. The table shows which lessons were preceded by practice Lessons 1—6 , which lessons included a performance for the teacher Lessons 4—7 , and for which of these activities Maria provided reports Reports 1—8.
Sessions that were recorded are listed in boldface in Table 1 Sessions 4—6 and 8— Timeline of lessons, practice, performances, and reports. During Lesson 4, Maria performed the piece from memory for her teacher for the first time. The following week, Maria completed the report on her practice by herself Report 5.
She brought it to the next lesson Lesson 5 and the student and teacher went through the report together, with the teacher annotating the report with different colors representing the classification of each feature as described above. During the next lesson Lesson 7 Maria delivered her last report of thoughts during practice to the teacher Report 7. She also performed for the teacher again, and made her final report of her thoughts during performance Report 8.
Shortly after Lesson 7, summer holidays brought lessons to an end for several weeks. Starting and stopping, she worked her way through the piece from memory and then did so a second time, with greater fluency. These reconstructions from memory marked the end of the study. Maria video-recorded 3 weeks of practice and three performances.An example is the rhyme that helps people remember how many days there are in each month: 30 days hath September, April, June, and November. Of the 71 possible locations, the number where she reported thoughts ranged from a maximum of 26 Examination of the recorded practice showed that the musicians had begun building the mental organization needed to perform from memory in their earliest practice sessions, well before they were ready to try playing from memory Chaffin and Imreh,
The client also reports detail of events from his or her point of view. Starting at a particular location requires thought and creates an associative link between the thought and the playing that follows, creating a PC. She reported thoughts about the music at only a minority of the possible locations in the piece that afforded opportunities for thinking. The significant effects for expressive thoughts and thoughts about basic technique indicate that playing started more frequently than expected by chance at locations where Maria reported these types of thoughts. Playing started again at the same location where it stopped for Playing during practice and performances thin and thick horizontal lines respectively.
Preparation during practice is a defining characteristic of PCs. A cluttered working space with unfiled notes here, there and everywhere; a notepad filled with scrawl on numerous different subjects with no particular order; a poor computer filing system. The percentage of thoughts in each report that reappeared in the following report, separately for four types of thought. When starting to play from memory, the disruption to the automatic motor sequences created by thinking about what you are doing is a substantial obstacle that must be overcome by practice, requiring time, patience, and persistence. This may prove a more effective way of memorising bigger chunks of information than the mnemonic examples we gave above.
The following week, Maria completed the report on her practice by herself Report 5. The same effect is seen in the practice of professional musicians Chaffin et al. A case study on one side Condensing information onto one side of A4 or A3 is a really useful way of streamlining the case study and making it easier for a student to memorise. Now, she wanted to memorize a piece in order to audition for a place at a music academy or, if she went to university, to have something that she could play for friends and family in years to come. Permitting investigation of otherwise impractical or unethical situations.
What is an example of a case study in psychology? The interview is also an extremely effective procedure for obtaining information about an individual, and it may be used to collect comments from the person's friends, parents, employer, workmates and others who have a good knowledge of the person, as well as to obtain facts from the person him or herself. The method is therefore important for psychologists who adopt a holistic point of view i. At time of publication, Maria was in her third year of study, still played the piano occasionally, and enjoyed going to concerts and listening to music.