I can't imagine learning flamenco without pens and paper.

I really can't.

On paper I take notes. On paper I figure things out. On paper I put the thoughts from inside my head. And there's just something I like so much about the feel of the pen moving atop the paper...

I often write in little books.

They helped me a lot in the beginning, in Sevilla. They help me today. And they helped me a lot in Jerez.

An excerpt from Spain last year to help explain...

April 15, 2011

It seems I am becoming known for my little booklet. Today in class Odelia asked me about it.

"So, what do you do with that booklet, te vas apuntando los pasos?"  

I explained to her my methods.

"Why? Does it bother you?" I asked worried that my going back and forth to record sounds and write may have become a nuisance in class.

"Nooooo," she told me, "I think it's graciosa." 

I have relied on note-taking since I first began studying flamenco in Sevilla. I guess I can't help it. I am a writer. I like writing and seeing things written.

And it helps! 

Sometimes I write down the steps in hopes that later it will help me remember things or understand the audio I have recorded. Sometimes it's and explanation of a body movement.  Sometimes a specific detail that I don't want to forget. Usually what is written during class is sloppy. I may go back later to make sure things are legible. I may make adjustments.

And my methods have evolved.

I now reflect on things after class and try to jot down how I felt and something I learned. A friend suggested that I do this. Gracias, Amiga.

The reflection turned into a big thing.

It was no longer just about getting down the steps and notes to later get things "right." No, it turned into more than that. It took my experience to a different level. It helped to sink stuff in, yes. It helped me to notice things, yes. But, Oh...it made me feel much better about the classes. And it was fun.

I gave the Guapas little books. Some like them. Some don't. I get it. Writing is not for everyone. 

That's ok. But if you haven't yet, I suggest trying a bit of writing to go with your practice or class.







Whatever. Perhaps it will help. Perhaps you will like it.

Little books part two is coming tomorrow. Stay tuned.

I wonder, do you use writing to help you learn? To help you in general? Let me know in the comments.

Spain Tour Update.  There are still some spaces available for the October trip to Spain. Today was to be the deadline for the initial payment, but I have extended it to August 29 after the online chat with Mercedes Ruíz. (The one that you're invited to be a part of.) It's an intimate conversation between Mercedes, me, and eight of you! You can ask her a question or just hang out and hear what she has to say. Details on how to sign up will be announced tomorrow via the list then later this week here.  It's happening on August 27, and there are just 8 spots, so keep your eyes open if you want to be a part of this.