Guitar Lessons by Chip McDonald - Learn Guitar from Alan Alda?

Monday, February 13, 2023

Learn Guitar from Alan Alda?

   I saw an interesting little bit of advice from Alan "Hawkeye Pierce" Alda yesterday.  

 The gist of it was, 

repeat things you're trying to tell someone 3 times, 3 different ways.


With the additional aspect of

 only try to remember / learn 3 things at once, no more.

 I think Alda is a brilliant actor, but also has some pithy, wise things to say.  In the above, I think it's something I wish I could do better as a guitar teacher; convey a new concept or technique consistently 3 different ways, 3 times.  

 I've tried to do something like this as par for the course, but what Alda adds to the process is the (obvious) part whereby the person you are communicating with needs to be at the point of "oh yeah, yeah, right, I've got it" when you're at that third repeat.  

 I will tend to try to not annoy when I think a person has it; but perhaps that is wrong?  I probably should take it to that 3rd, "ok, you're annoying me" point?

 I'm not sure.

 But what I am sure about, is the part about remembering only 3 things.

 A lot of students want to cram as much as possible into a lesson.  My personal perspective is that the optimal lesson doesn't require me to send notes to the student, the student is familiar enough with the concept after the lesson that they know what to do without a reminder, for the following 7 days until the next guitar lesson.

 Alda's Limitation (as I'm going to coin it) is pretty logical, and concise.  If you think about most things you do, or want to do, do you really grasp or fully accomplish things when taken in more than 3 steps?

 I don't think so.  At least not when it comes to learning how to play guitar,

 The takeaway to this being, you should lean into to more fully digesting no more than 3 concepts/ideas/techniques in one go on guitar, at a time.  You're diluting your effort, and probably practically wasting your time otherwise.  It may seem *possible*, but that's not the same thing as *optimal*.


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