I’ve been taking lessons to learn the electric bass for 3 years now. There have been a number of skills to learn, and I’ve struggled grasping many of them! When I do find myself struggling with a concept, I have come up with a 2 step process for speeding up my understanding. The 2 steps are:
- Write down my understanding of the concept and present it to my instructor
- Be open to, and ready to apply, feedback
Jotting down my understanding of a concept helps me clarify my thoughts and also presents my instructor with a glimpse into my thinking. From this glimpse, he can easily tell whether I’m grasping the concept or not. It’s really difficult to fake my understanding when I’ve just handed him a chart, summary, or sketch of how I’m interpreting what I’m learning!
It’s nice when my understanding is correct. However, most times, I’m usually missing something. It’s at these moments when my instructor can jump in and clarify a point. This is where I need to be ok with the fact that my understanding is flawed. When it is, it’s not a knock on me. It’s an opportunity to learn and grow as a bass player. Frankly, isn’t that the point of lessons: to find out in what skills you’re lacking and learn how to get better?
If you’re struggling to learn a concept, consider jotting down how you currently understand it, and give it to someone who knows the topic and will give you an honest assessment. Then be ready to learn from and apply their feedback. You’ll have inaccurate understanding to lose and new skills to gain.