Samurai Swimming: The Importance of “Treading Water”

Sometimes you have to bookmark or tread water with your skill. If you can’t do all guitar all the time, do five minutes. Photo by sudyasheel. http://bit.ly/UChtLh

The other day I was minding my own business and paying attention to @ajatt’s twitter conversation when a rockin’ young ma twitterin’ man named @Mikeylovesrock asked, “Could someone create an @ajatt method for guitar fluency? :p I’d be much obliged.”  I told him that maybe he is the man that everyone is waiting for. Khatzumoto didn’t know Japanese when he began his immersion experience.   Now Khatzumoto has a cool blog helping people all over the world learn Japanese through fun and immersion.

Later on, I suggested some of my posts where I mention guitar.  I also sent Mikeylovesrock a link to Rittor, a Japanese music publication company.   I have a great book from them called (roughly), 100 Hints for Becoming Better in Guitar.

@mikeylovesrock graciously conceded that he would give it a shot when he finished learning Japanese.  I let a few hours pass, thinking about the fact that even Khatzumoto began from nothing and I replied, “fair enough … but what is one thing you could do in guitar? keep strings tuned hold guitar five minutes/day.”  Why wait?

The Importance of “Treading Water”

“Relax your mind and float down stream.” When you are treading water, a relaxed attitude will help you “float” better.  Photo by Jim:  http://bit.ly/S1Kvpd

Even if you have a big learning project underway, I think it is important to “tread water” in the other skills you want to develop.  Why?

  • Your mind loves a challenge and progress is made in minutes of doing rather than not doing.
  • The next skill can become a motivator for continuing and progressing with the on-going learning project.
  • A little bit a day lays the groundwork for more each day and gets your mind thinking like a guitarist/pianist/speaker of French/coder etc.
  • Because it’s just plain old fun.

Tips for “Bookmarking” or Treading Water on a Future Skill

  • use your current learning to shore up future learning–i.e. play around with the guitar books written in Japanese
  • keep the instrument(s) of your future skilled out and “tuned”-take the guitar out of the case, keep it tuned, and just touch it for five minutes
  • have a place in your notebook for future goals, dreams, and skills in your notebook and find fun ways to keep reviewing them in your notebook…create ways to keep bumping into your desired skills
  • if you can’t do five minutes, do one minute.  If you can’t do one minute, do one second.  If you don’t physically pick up your skill, hold it in your mind.  A friend of mine says he practices guitar scales and patterns in his mind when he is too busy being a dad.   Guilt and self-hatred don’t count.
  • create an online flashcard deck for your future skill….even if you just put one card it in the deck it counts

The nice thing about giving advice to other people is that sometimes it spurs you to follow your own advice.  🙂  I blew the dust off my flashcard deck for guitar and landed on Jamplay.com lesson based on an AC/DC song called, “You Shook Me All Night Long.”  For five minutes, the bright lights shone on me as I had my Angus moment.  Of course, this was a four day weekend.  Let’s see if we can sustain the five minutes during the stress of the school year.  In the meantime, stay “tuned.” 🙂

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