I was not sure this day would arrive... the day when I finished the Salsa Ear-Training series that I started three and a half years ago. But with uploading of the timbale rhythms tutorial, it's happened.
I was in a meeting with a colleague, Adrian, about the delivery of material on a new MBA programme a few days ago and we were talking about blogs, about how useful they were to the people who wrote them. More so perhaps than to those who read them (sorry, no offence intended). As I finished the file upload I took stock of just how much of a learning experience this has been. Similar to blogging, the writing of each lesson has brought its own rewards but the intensity of effort has been orders of magnitude higher: in design, planning, validation, and critical self-reflection.
And did it work out to plan?
I'd say so. The structure and progression must have been robust from the beginning, because no changes proved necessary over the fourty-plus months it took to complete. I would have liked to say that it worked out better than expected but I can't, because it was so highly specified in the first place (and you should be the judge of that) that exceeding the targets was never likely.
The design route of the learning section did assume unexpected changes of emphasis, to reflect the changes in the salsa scenes themselves - locally, nationally, internationally, and even transnationally. The original path, in my naïveté, was to have increasing levels based on dance vocabulary. However as more instructors came on the scene, plenty of vocabulary resources became available and there didn't seem much sense in reinventing the wheel. As a maturing instructor, I moved to skills-based learning - an adjustment which works better with the prevailing vocabulary-based environment. Salsa Level Two then became about helping people learn how to use rhythm, level three about using their bodies, and level four about bringing the body and rhythm together.
I don't think this process will ever end, the writing of lessons I mean. Nor would I want it to. But it's nice to have closure, albeit in a relativistic sense.