The Art of Playful Education with Music Maestro Rebecca Sue Fegan

Have you ever wondered what could happen if a stockbroker traded in their spreadsheets for sheet music? That’s exactly what Rebecca Sue Fegan did, and the harmonious results speak—or rather, sing—for themselves. We’re joined by the multitalented education professional, certified coach, and passionate musician, who shares her extraordinary journey from the bustling floor of the stock exchange to the rhythmic world of music education. Rebecca’s story is a symphony of playful anecdotes, teaching triumphs, and the undeniable proof that it’s never too late to chase a crescendo in life.

Striking the right note isn’t just for the young; it’s a melody that can be learned at any age. Tune in as we break down the myth that adults can’t master musical instruments, and explore the various pathways to become fluent in the universal language of music. Whether you’re drawn to the keys of a piano or the strings of a guitar, we chat about the balance between the intuitive joy of playing by ear and the structured discipline of reading notes. Rebecca’s firsthand experiences with adult learners offer encouragement and practical insights for those yearning to let their inner musicians out to play.

The crescendo of our conversation leads to the innovative Fegan Method, an approach to learning that’s as versatile as it is effective. It’s not just about music; this method can help anyone master new skills, from improving your jump shot to understanding quantum physics. We wrap up the episode with a lively trivia challenge that’s sure to tickle your funny bone and reawaken your playful spirit.

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(00:11) The Power of Playing Music With Rebecca Sue Fegan

This show kicks off with a playful introduction, including a couple of light-hearted jokes to set the tone. I welcome Rebecca Fegan, an education professional, certified coach, and musician, to discuss the joys of incorporating play into music and education. We explore Rebecca’s journey from working as a stockbroker to embracing her lifelong passion for teaching music, a craft she has honed since she was 14 years old. Rebecca shares her experience of teaching her first student who achieved first chair in an all-state band and the exhilarating feeling of witnessing students transform noise into music. We also delve into her versatility as a musician, her ability to play an array of instruments including the unusual crumbhorn, and the mischievous tactics she employed to outplay her competitors in marching band competitions. Join us for this chapter full of playful anecdotes and the power of music to ignite joy and creativity.

(11:22) Getting Started in Music

Rebecca helps us explore beginning to learn music later in life, highlighting the experiences of those who have grown up around music but never learned to play an instrument themselves. We discuss the common misconception that learning music as an adult is nearly impossible and debunk it with success stories of older students thriving in their musical education. Focusing on the piano, we explore the allure of being able to play both melody and harmony, the joy of playing by ear versus reading music, and how these skills can be a surprise delight at social gatherings. We touch on the importance of listening for patterns and harmonies in music and the basic approach of reading and counting for beginners. Moreover, we consider various methods of learning, whether through picking up favorite songs or starting with fundamental rhythms and melodies, and emphasize that the path to learning music can be tailored to individual needs and preferences.

(22:10) The Fegan Method

This chapter explores the interconnectedness of knowledge across various disciplines and how integrating learning can enhance understanding. We discuss the importance of seeing the links between subjects like math, science, history, and music, highlighting examples such as how migration patterns can be traced through musical influences. The conversation then shifts to the Fegan Method, a learning approach that emphasizes identifying knowledge gaps and tackling them in manageable segments, applicable to any subject. Through personal anecdotes, we demonstrate the method’s versatility, from improving athletic performance to mastering complex academic topics. Finally, we play a trivia game touching on pop culture and conclude with an invitation for listeners to challenge their perceived limits in learning with the help of coaching.