There Is the Observation by Gopnik

Freshman (College 1st year) ・English ・APA

Gopnik (2015) observes that assessments are not always an accurate indicator of a person's skill. As a result, his observation is something I learned from my friend in terms of recognizing that certain aspects come easily to others. During a conversation with a friend who was participating in the one-week free musical instrument training program, it became clear that the assessments were ineffective for learning to use different musical instruments. As a trumpet enthusiast, I was eager to begin a three-day lesson schedule with a friend, followed by a four-day practice period. Through the training program, I learned the concept of natural gift and its influence on the learning process of certain individuals.

From the interaction with my friend in the learning process, the theoretical aspects of playing the trumpet posed a challenge. My friend would struggle extensively in understanding the various tones that one can produce using the trumpet. In the classes, there was the element of shyness and fear to lift a hand in responding to the questions raised by the trainer. My friend was a loner in the classroom, and maintaining an active role in the learning process was not evident. The shyness and reduced attention in class led to my feelings of remorse for my friend who seemed to struggle to learn. Accordingly, through our interaction, I almost gave up on the class just to offer support. However, the level of enthusiasm to learn how to play the trumpet did not deter me from the learning process. I seemed to be the motivating factor to my friend to continue with the class. However, the element of shyness and being fearful about the tests to be issued was still an aspect of concern for him, which he raised consistently throughout the three days of the training process.

At the end of the three-day, training course on the basics of the trumpet playing was the test to be undertaken. Though not mandatory, I managed to convince my friend to take the test. Fearful as usual, the tests were a revelation of my friend's reduced enthusiasm to undertake the lessons. On the fourth day, after still convincing him, we were to take the practical classes on playing the trumpet for four days. Exuberant and ready to master the art of playing the trumpet, I could not hide the joy. The basics of just pressing or releasing the three valves to play the diverse tones seemed easy enough. Nonetheless, I was in shock for the first lessons. Admittedly, despite trying to play the trumpet as hard as I could, I seemed not to be effective in my actions. The assumption that I had made about the ease of playing the trumpet had been shattered on the realization that it is a daunting prospect. Admittedly, it became clear that playing the trumpet is a challenge since one has to learn the art of properly.

On the other hand, my friend shocked everyone. Despite scoring among the lowest scores in the theory class, it was evident that he had mastered the art of playing the trumpet. He seemed to be a master at playing the trumpet in the way that he pursed his lips tightly and let them vibrate as he blew into the trumpet, which is a classic example of mastery in the art. With my classmates still in awe, it was interesting to learn how my friend had developed expertise in playing the trumpet. I could not imagine my friend developing a knack in pursing his lips, letting them vibrate as he blew the trumpet while moving the tongue at the same time. As a complicated activity that I had learned through the theoretical lessons undertaken, it was still not clear as to how my friend had managed to remember the fundamentals of using the trumpet from the trainer. Hence, still in awe, the next three days of the training camp were exciting, and I significantly improved in learning to use the trumpet. Nonetheless, my friend outshone all of us who had excelled in the class work. In the practical lessons, we had to sit back and listen to him as he played the trumpet like a maestro.


In the trumpet learning experience, it was clear that tests were not a measure of one’s ability. Admittedly, my friend who was disinterested in the classroom lessons managed to shock all of us in the practical lesson. It seemed to be an inborn gift to him, even though he was disinterested with the theoretical aspect of learning, which culminated to sitting for exams. As such, the direct interaction and lesson process with my friend was an eye opener on the ineffectiveness of the tests undertaken. Some individuals may be shy and fearful of tests, but in the practical activities excel extensively, as evident from my experience.


Gopnik, A. (2015). The Driver’s Seat. The New Yorker. Retrieved from

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