Earth Day ukulele workshop and jam

If we celebrate birthdays, why not one for Mother Earth? Every April 22nd, people all over the world celebrate Earth Day in different ways. While I was living on Maui, I started using music to gather community and raise awareness for sustainability through concerts and jam sessions. It’s a combination of entertainment and education. The last one was my piano class joining forces with the ukulele class (video below). This year, Earth Day falls on Sunday 22nd April 2018, and I’m determined to do something special.

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Why studying music gives extra-musical benefits?

Learning to play the piano as an adult brings extra-musical benefits.

This morning, a close childhood friend now a professor of Japanese literature posted an article on Facebook, entitled “Why English Majors are the Hot New Hires.” As I am taking a 3-credit undergraduate course in creative writing, I couldn’t help nodding my head as I read the article.

But I am not an English major.

Far from it! I majored in electrical engineering and later took degrees in anything but English.

So why was I nodding my head?

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Learning and retention rates

Retention rates increase with the way we are taught from 10% to 95%: read, hear, see, see and hear, discuss, experience, and what we teach someone else. What happens when we collaborate?

In a computer training class recently, I learned the following statistics on retention rates from my teacher.

When you read, you retain 10% of what you read.

Hear: 20%

See: 30%

See and hear: 50%

Discuss with others: 70%

Experience it personally: 80%

What we teach someone else: 95%

This explains why we only confirm what we know when we have to teach what we know to others. The path to become an expert requires one to teach what one practises.

What is the retention rate when we collaborate with others, such as planning a concert or a fundraising event or working on a CD recording together? When performers work with composers, both learn from each other and the process. The commitment that both put into the resulting composition takes it further than a one way process. Would the retention rate be higher?