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Tip #1 – 4 Stages of Learning!
I’ve been reading a new book written by Bob Proctor and ran across something that absolutely hit home for me! He talks about the 4 stages of learning that we all experience, and uses riding a bicycle as his example. Here’s the excerpt from his book called, “It’s Not About The Money.”
“Everything we know we have learned in four specific stages. Take the example of riding a bicycle. We start out in life not knowing or caring that bicycles even exist or that we might ever want to ride one. This stage is called Unconscious Incompetence. We don’t know that we don’t know. We go merrily through our day completely unaware that there might be a better mode of transportation than our feet.
At some point during our childhood, we see others riding bicycles and the desire to ride one ourselves starts to blossom. This is the second stage of learning and is called Conscious Incompetence. Now we know we don’t know how to ride a bicycle and we try to learn. As you know, it takes much concentration and effort to balance on a bicycle for the first time. We work hard and focus our efforts at staying erect until we are finally able to peddle without falling over. This third stage of learning is called Conscious Competence. We have proven we can ride the bicycle through focussed concentration and effort.
Through repetition we become so good at riding that we no longer have to consciously think about staying upright on the bicycle. This is called Unconscious Competence – when we become so adept at performing a particular skill, that we don’t even think about how to do it anymore. Once the skill is learned, the mind moves it into the sub-conscious and it becomes a part of us.
This particularly hit home for me because it was a direct example of my learning improvisation. When I was in grade school, I had no concept or awareness that a musician was making up his own music to play a solo… but as I became aware of what it was, I realized that it was difficult, would take a lot of work, and opted to stick to trying to play high notes. So I stayed consciously incompetent for a VERY long time! But as I made myself a promise that I was going to step outside my comfort zone and learn this daunting skill (to me it was) I moved into Conscious Competence. As I continue working, I am noticing that there are times (not 100%) that things feel very natural and effortless. Much like riding a bicycle.
So your first November tip is to really study this… understand the four stages and have patience with yourself – have fun learning!
Tip #2 – Practice / Rehearse / Perform
One concept that a lot of musicians seem to miss is the order in which we should practice / rehearse / perform. I mention this because I’ve played with (and occasionally still play) with musicians that practice on the band stand and it drives me crazy! The band is “performing” and other sections are playing – maybe someone else is soloing, and yet these individuals choose to stand ON STAGE and practice parts they’ve either played wrong already, or upcoming parts they don’t have under their fingers. To me it’s disrespectful to the band, the music, and the individuals that are playing…
Practice time is you, a metronome, a tuner and your parts…
Rehearsal time is when the group you perform with come together after individual practice so that the group can create a cohesive sound, agree on the road map of the tune/s and lock down anything that needs to be worked on as a band.
Performance time – very obvious – you perform what you’ve individually practiced and cohesively rehearsed as a group.
As fundamental as this may seem, it’s still worthy of discussion because this concept appears to escape a great many musicians.
The world lies in the hands of those who have the
courage to dream and who take the risk of living out
their dreams – each according to his own talent.
– Paulo Coelho Author
Have a GREAT week!