Learning Theories: My Violin Playing

Running head; Learning Theories

Learning theories

Learning Theories

Learning a new skill is something that involves paying close attention and being open-minded. My experience as a student was not an easy one as I could not figure out my area of expertise or if I had any. In an effort to want to be part of something other than class work, I opted to join the music class. There were several instruments to choose from but the violin was appealing to me and as I result I started violin lessons. At first holding the violin the right way was challenging for me and I had to look at what the rest of the classroom was doing in order to catch up. I imitated their skills and soon realized that I was becoming good at it. As I attended more violin classes I became eloquent in playing and would attend events to accompany acappella groups and opera singers. I had adopted my skills in playing the violin through imitation of my friends and adaptation of new environment.
The theories that were useful to my learning process are the social learning theory and the goal setting theory. My learning process required a lot of observational learning in order to capture the characteristics of my trainer and my fellow colleagues. I also had to mimic my trainer as I learnt how to hold the violin and read notes as I played various pieces of music. The social learning theory is applicable in this case as I required the four major processes of learning something new. These processes were attention to detail, retention of the skill learnt, production of the skill as learnt and motivation to want to play the violin. (Bandura, 1986). Observing the movement of the fingers as my trainer played his violin was not enough because I needed to remember it later and practice it in order to perfect my skill. Producing the learnt skill was a challenge at first especially because I had not acquired the right skill yet. My motivation for doing this was to show my talent in other fields other than class work studies and this is how I discovered my talent. (Kytle & Bandura, 1978).
The goal setting theory played a major role in my learning as I had the desire to want to showcase my skills in other fields in school. The goal setting theory involves an individual being able to challenge themselves and being self-disciplined in the process of attaining those goals. (Locke, 2004). According to Locke and Latham, the goals must be SMART in that they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. Successful goal setting have five principles that facilitate its success and they include clarity, challenging, commitment, feedback and tack complexity. (Tosi, Locke, & Latham, 1991). This theory is applicable to my learning process because I went out of my comfort zone and challenged myself to do something other than going to class and holding a book and a pen. I took the initiative and measured my success by learning to play a new piece each week and improving on the notes that were not perfectly executed. I developed self-discipline by attending all violin classes and the team played a major part in ensuring I was committed to executing the notes better than last time. My trainer’s feedback from every rehearsal and practice lesson was helpful in gauging how fast I was progressing hence my goals were realistic. (Noe and Winkler, 2012)
Learning this new skill will help others around me in developing their skills in playing the violin and imitating as well as adapting new behaviors. My learning experience taught me other skills that can be used by other people not only when paying a musical instrument, but also when learning something new. My first attempt at playing the violin was not as good as I had hoped for because my expectations were high, but as I learn to be more observant and retain the skills I had observed in my mind, I became better at executing these skills and adopting new ones. The challenge in using the social learning theory is that it requires one to pay close attention and sometimes observing a trainer or a model demonstrate the skill looks easy, but when the learner is executing it, it is challenging. Setting realistic goals that are achievable within a set time period is also an important attribute to learn from the goal setting theory. The challenge to the goal setting theory is that sometimes on may set unrealistic and complex goals which in the end discourage them in their learning process.
In conclusion, my experience in learning a new skill was a challenge at first but as I learnt to be more patient and be more observant I was able to achieve my set goals. The social learning theory was relevant in my learning process because I used imitation of other the trainer and other violinists to perfect my skill. Similarly, I used the goal-setting theory to challenge myself by doing something out of my comfort zone. My goals were realistic hence I was able to achieve them in each piece that I played. The social learning theory and the goal setting theory can also be applicable to other students and people in various situations so as to learn a new experience and teach others. When one learns and knows how challenging the process is, it makes them perfect trainers to other people with the interest of learning that new skill.

Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Kytle, J. & Bandura, A. (1978). Social Learning Theory. Contemporary Sociology, 7(1), 84. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2065952
Locke, E. (2004). Goal-setting theory and its applications to the world of business. Academy Of Management Executive, 18(4), 124-125. http://dx.doi.org/10.5465/ame.2004.15268720
Tosi, H., Locke, E., & Latham, G. (1991). A Theory of Goal Setting and Task Performance. The Academy Of Management Review, 16(2), 480. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/258875

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