I reflected on how I thought about and experienced learning then and how I think about and experience learning now.
Some thoughts –
- Relevance makes it “real.” I wanted to make progress so that I could play the “real” songs – recognizable classical and contemporary pieces – so that I could feel like a “real” musician. Real should enter the picture sooner.
- Learning is a process (think unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, conscious competence, and unconscious competence; we tend to quit at the point of conscious incompetence, often because we don’t see this as a normal part of the learning process). I tended to view my inability to play songs perfectly as a deficit in me. I didn’t realize this was part of the process. As a learner, it created a lot of anxiety for me and a lot of judgment about my abilities. When you normalize the process you have more self-compassion, which helps you fail faster and learn more quickly.
- Frequent feedback speeds up progress. I had weekly lessons. The feedback was extremely helpful, but I’m sure if I had had more frequent feedback, I’d have made progress faster. It’s incredible how technology has helped with this, especially in the music education space.
- Social learning can be a game changer. I loved playing and practicing, but I was often alone. I’m a social person and realize I would have loved to connect with others while I learned to play. Again, technology is a welcome solution to that problem.
- Reflection helps you reframe. I wasn’t deficient when I made mistakes. I was learning; I wanted to play “real” music because I wanted to see myself as a “real” musician; I wanted more frequent feedback and I wanted to have opportunities to learn with peers along the way because those are helpful ways to learn.
- Technology expands learning possibilities. I had a wooden metronome that I had to carry with me. Now you can pull one up online. I waited one week to get feedback on so many aspects of my playing and I had to take it all in aurally. Now I can get feedback and watch masters play any time I like. This helps me feel less alone, too.
Anything to add to these reflections on the learning process?