Two Part Process For Building Skills

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:

  1. Write down my understanding of the concept and present it to my instructor
  2. 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.

The Ability of Music

As I’m sitting down to write this week’s blog I’m listening to the “Les Miserables Live! The 2010 Cast Album”.  The music in this soundtrack has a wide gamut of emotional connections, from big powerful numbers that get your heart rate up to those that are soft and tender that will bring tears to your eyes.

Such is the power of music.

What a blessing to live in a world with music!  Music has the uncanny ability to:

  • Encourage
  • Soothe and calm us
  • Get us fired up
  • Focus our thinking (or make us think)
  • Distract us
  • Make us laugh
  • Make us cry
  • Create connections
  • Tell stories
  • Heal us
  • Set a mood
  • Trigger memories
  • Create memories…

… and that’s just the beginning of a very long list!

If you’re not already doing so, look for way to integrate music into your daily routine.  In addition, explore new types of music you may not normally listen to.  You may discover a whole new genre that you really resonate with.

And what a blessing that would be.