One More Time

An interesting phenomenon I've observed over my years of piano instruction: "One more time" is about the worst thing you can say to a student.  She might play it perfectly three times, and as soon as you say, "Okay, once more," I guarantee you she'll tank and make all kinds of errors she's never made before.

I have tested this theory numerous times, and it always works, even on my most composed kids.  I think those magic words -- one time, just one -- somehow make your brain shut off.  Woo-hoo!  One more time, and then we get to have ice cream!  (Well, Music Mind Games is pretty close to ice cream, and that's usually the carrot that's dangling in front of them, to use a very badly mixed metaphor.)

So, although I haven't nailed down the psychology of it just yet, I'm learning to say, "Again, please," until it's correct, and then to just stop asking.  However, you'd be surprised (or maybe you wouldn't) how hard it is to strike a certain phrase from your vocabulary.  The more you dwell on not saying it, the more likely you are to say it in spite of yourself!