“The principle is competing against yourself. It’s about self-improvement, about being better than you were the day before.” – Steve Young
My in-depth journey has been very related to this quote. Practicing the guitar can be very tedious and frustrating. In my experience, getting better at chords, specifically switching between them quickly, has been very difficult. Sometimes it does not sound right and I cannot play them quickly enough to play many songs. However, I look at my improvement every time I practice and I realize I am getting better.
With in-depth quickly coming to an end, and this being my last blog post before the final in-depth night post, here is an update of my progress from the past weeks. Recently, I have still been practicing my chords, until I get better and better at them. However, until I am quick enough at switching between them so I am able to put them into songs, it is not the most enjoyable to practice. To keep more engaged, I have also been learning some songs without chords, such as “7 Nation Army” by The White Stripes, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana, and “The Imperial March” from Star Wars. Learning these simple songs without chords along with practicing my chords, has been keeping me motivated to keep practicing.
Now, to move on to Edward De Bono’s, “How To Have A Beautiful Mind.” I have not yet had a meeting with my mentor since the last post, so I will use examples from our previous meetings to discuss chapters 9 and 10. In Chapter 9, De Bono discusses the importance of concepts. Concepts are very important in terms of thinking. “If you want to be able to have a beautiful mind you need to be able to handle concepts” (107). Concepts are essentially the beginning of practical ideas and are where these ideas come from. They allow us to come up with new ideas which may or may not be logical. When listening to someone you should be trying to pick out the concept which could be thought of as “the underlying essence of what is being said” (110). It is also good to clarify what the concept is. An example of a concept that I picked out in a previous meeting with my mentor Ewan, was when he was teaching me how to get better at switching between chords. I have talked about the method he told me to use to get better in a previous blog post, but it was basically to put my fingers in the right places and then lift them to build up muscle memory. The concept of what he was teaching me was how to get better at switching between chords. This concept was not too specific or too broad, which is very important. Furthermore, he then gave me an idea that bridged off to the concept and alternatives to it as well.
Alternatives are also very important when trying to have a beautiful mind. In chapter 10, Edward De Bono discusses alternatives’ importance and says, “being unwilling to look for alternatives indicates a very rigid mind that does not seek a better view of the world or a better way of doing things” (122). Additionally, “progress, energy, change, improvement, and simplification” all an outcome of finding alternatives (122). Alternatives are all about finding different ways to complete tasks or to fulfill ideas, and even if these alternatives are not better than the other options, it is always good to have other options just in case. Once again related to when Ewan was teaching me about ways to switch between chords quicker, he also gave me alternatives rather than just one solution. As I mentioned earlier, he gave me a technique that built up muscle memory, but he gave me a different way to do the same. That was simply to just practice. Play one chord over and over again and play another chord over and over again. This isn’t the technique I used, but it was good to have it to use in case the other technique did not work. In conclusion, alternatives and concepts are key factors to having a beautiful mind.
Finally, to discuss what I am doing to present my learning. My idea is not 100% flushed out yet, but I am going to start working it this week or next week. Basically, on my blog, I will have a written piece that discusses challenges and my learning throughout the year. Then I would have a video or audio recording of me playing a song I learned on the guitar. Another option is to have it as sort of a timeline of my learning progress. I would have recordings posted of my previous practices which build up to me playing a song on the guitar at the end of in-depth. However, I am not sure if am going to do this, as this is sort of what all my blog posts have been doing. Either way, people will have the opportunity to post questions and comments on my blog to make it more interactive.
These are some recordings of me practicing songs and chords.
7 Nation Army:
Smells Like Teen Spirit:
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