What went particularly well during your mentoring sessions?
The first aspect of the session I had with my mentor that was helpful and positive was the amount and difficulty of the content I learned. One part of this was that the material he has been teaching me was very useful and easy info for a beginner to learn. The exercise I learned for building up speed and finger strength will be very helpful as I progress because it is a fast, easy practice tool that will help me improve quickly. Also, the chords I have learned aren’t super difficult, but they are used in many songs and are very versatile. Also, I haven’t been learning so much material at once that I feel overwhelmed, I still feel comfortable.
Another piece of my mentoring sessions that went well was the encouragement, both to practice and when I did something right or succeeded. Being encouraged to practice the material I have been learning throughout the meetings has been very helpful, especially because it has been positive and geared towards my goal of improvement, rather than nagging or forcing me to practice because I am not doing well. Also, it helped me to feel more motivated to play and practice when I received praise or encouragement because I was doing something right or well, which is something that my mentor did during our sessions.
What logical challenges affected your communication?/What factors affected your ability to interact effectively?
A challenge that my mentor and I had in terms of communication had to do with technology issues. For our meetings, we have been using Zoom, but an error has been occurring that has made it somewhat difficult to communicate and learn a sound-based skill in particular. The issue is that even though I can see him and he can see and hear me in meetings, I can’t hear him, and this meant we had to find a workaround. Our solution to this problem was to remain on the video call, but also use a separate phone call to communicate auditorially, which worked, but created an issue of its own. This use of separate devices for the same meeting caused there to be a delay in the video in comparison to the audio, meaning that whenever one of us would play something on our guitar, the other would hear it, then see it on the screen a few seconds later. While this might not have been a huge problem, because learning guitar relies on sound, it was very awkward to try to interpret what I was meant to do and learn effectively from my mentor when what I could see him doing and what I could hear him playing were different at any moment in time. By this, I mean it was difficult to know where my fingers should be on the fretboard to play what he was playing when the video was so glitchy and out of time. However, we are working on figuring out how to fix the program so that this is hopefully no longer an issue during future meetings.
What three strategies could improve the quality of your mentoring interactions?
- I think that one change that I could make that would improve the quality of my meetings with my mentor would be to switch video call platforms. Because of the issues that using Zoom has caused in terms of communicating and learning effectively, I would hope that using a different website or program would solve those issues and allow me to learn without a delay or poor video or audio quality. Some examples of possible alternatives would be Google Meet, Teams, or any other platform that is better quality and that we both have access to. Figuring this out will involve both testing and clear communication with my mentor about what works, but I think that making this switch will greatly benefit our mentorship process and meetings.
- Another strategy I would use to improve our meetings and my learning would be to always be prepared before the meeting starts. A very prominent and important example of this would be ensuring that I’ve practiced every day since my last meeting so that I show improvement when we start the session and I’m not at the same level as the previous one. However, aside from this, I think that it would also be helpful for me to write notes for myself before the meeting, and throughout the time between sessions. These notes can include questions for my mentor, topics of discussion that I want to bring up, or anything else that I need to remember for my meeting. Finally, having some way to take notes during the meeting that is easy, fast and convenient for the situation is a great way to better my learning. In terms of preparation, this might mean just grabbing a piece of paper and a pencil and keeping it close by, or setting up a document on my computer. This will help me make sure that I remember the material I learned, and having it set up beforehand will mean I’m not scrambling to do it during the session.
- My final strategy, which also relates to my previous one, is to ask my mentor more questions. The way that this relates to my previous strategy is that if I think of questions between sessions, I should write them down, and even if I don’t I should try to write one or two questions in my notes before every meeting to achieve this goal. One way that asking my mentor more questions will benefit me is that I will learn more about guitar, including information that I may not have learned otherwise, and even if it’s not about guitar, I can learn more about my mentor and the experiences he’s had with playing guitar. Also, this reason is even further reinforced by the fact that by asking my own questions, I am making sure that what I’m learning is what I want to know and learn, and could be info that will help or be useful to me specifically moving forward. Because of this, when I am writing my preparatory notes before each meeting, I will make sure that I have included at least one or two relevant, specific and important questions for myself to ask my mentor.
Report on progress:
In my most recent meeting with my mentor, I learned quite a bit of new material. The first new sub-skill that I learned from him was a chromatic exercise. This is an exercise that consists of moving your fingers on and off the strings in different frets, while also plucking the strings up and down alternately. The purpose of this is to familiarize yourself with the fretboard, practice alternate strumming, and build up finger strength and speed.
The second part of the meeting consisted of learning two new chords. These chords were the G Major and the C Major chords, which I’ve attached images of below.
Finally, I also learned the pattern for an intro to a Metallica song called Enter Sandman. (Link will take you to Spotify)