Guitar Lessons by Chip McDonald - Precipice Vertigo Accomodation and Music

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Precipice Vertigo Accomodation and Music

   I hate analogies except when I'm pondering them. Sorry.

 There may be a French word for the concept I'm about to present, I don't know.  When a person takes on a new challenge, in some cases before the person makes the decision to "jump" they may find themselves in a moment of cognitive dissonance.  They're mentally confronting for the first time embracing the scale of what they're about to do.

 What's interesting to me about this is how radically different humans treat circumstances that are similar, what they seem to tell themselves, and how they prepare.  In the case of music, there are ample "precipices" one can encounter.  The decision to try to learn a new genre; the decision to learn all of the music of a particular artist; the decision to learn a new technique; the decision to join a band; the decision to learn a new instrument, etc.

 I have been producing a student's solo project for the past few months.  For him, it was one of those precipice moments to take on the idea to do such a thing initially; as a learning experience I think it's been very potent, as his ability to approach making a song as become much more facile and efficient. 

 Now it's time for him to start thinking about the final product, and the idea of mixing down the work.  So he goes,

 "What is mixing?"

 He's on the precipice of deciding to do the mixing himself, or "another option".  He's not sure what's over the edge of the cliff, but he's peering over it to assess. 

 Which is wise, given the time he's invested so far.  On the other hand, weighing what there is to learn has to be taken in as well. 

 I'm contrasting that with another student.  The other student wants to eventually become a "singer-songwriter/performer" guitar player in a Certain Large Music Town. 

 This student's gung-ho attitude serves him well, he is charging into battle.  I'm not sure if he realizes the sheer scale of the battle he's joining.  The skill set required is greater than I believe he sees at the moment, so his approach is going to be fraught with moments of frustration when obstacles become evident.  Obstacles that were always there and visible, but inseen for the moment.

 The question is, does he maintain his course at each one of these obstacles, or does the gung-ho attitude dissipate?

 Does the first student look over the cliff, and decide "nope"?

What I've learned myself, is that in both instances I have to let them both "free wheel".  Which is to say, coast under their own momentum into whatever it is.


 People are people.

 I've learned that  there isn't a one-size-fits-all way of "teaching" or "learning".  There are some general categories (as posited above), but you can't force a strategy on someone when it's conceptually against the grain of who they are. 

 It just doesn't work.

 It makes me mad, because I know now, fully, just how corrupted and wrong the U.S. education system is, and how much the world could be better with just a little bit of optimizing.  Many problems in our society are the result of people that were "misfit" for the public education system, not of their own fault.  It's both wasteful and inefficient that this goes on.

 I think most people would agree with me on the following anecdotes:

 We all know someone from grade school that had no problem studying 24/7 and made perfect grades.

 We all know someone that didn't have to study at all, that still got by (... ahem..).

 We all know someone that was smart, but out of control in a classroom.

 We all know someone that wasn't particularly smart, but did seemingly quite well.

 We all know someone was too busy trying to get other's attention to do well. 

 We all know someone who wasn't particularly smart, except they could game the system.
 ... and so on.

  Within each of the above frameworks, these archetypes stand out because of the forced process of the "30 person per 6 classes period" generic system.  It's only optimal for one of the above students, obviously.  From my experience, that would be literally one person out of 1,000. 
Everyone else is a misfit to some degree. Meaning, the reader of this.  In a perfect work there would be schools tailored to each mindset; or a more flexible system from the outset.

 From a music standpoint, I try to teach within the mindset of the student.  I can't go about things with the first student above as the second.  I don't expect it to work that way, because it simply doesn't. 

  The flip side to this (I write about this in my book to a degree) is that people should know, as a human being, the "how" of how they themselves learn.  I've seen big mismatches, and it's to their detriment.  This is a concept I wish I had learned when I was a child, because from my point of view I wasted a lot of  time "not learning" when I could have been learning.  It wasn't my fault because I was bored, but because the process itself had zero to do with the way I learn.

 If for no other reason than to discover this principle I'd suggest "take guitar lessons" until you understand what I'm writing about.  I think it could probably be life changing.

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