One of the nice things about signing up for Silverspoon, an internet Japanese immersion service, is that you get daily servings of corny motivational phrases. After a while they start to rub off on you, and you start to believe that you can accomplish things. (Motivational reps–resistance if futile 🙂 ) Yes, I am not completely fluent in Japanese. (I’ve been doing/not doing Silverspoon my own way so it’s not really an issue for me.) Yep, just having a hell of a lot more fun doing stuff in Japanese, writing more (in so-called English), and otherwise tripping the light fantastic.
A recent “casualty” of the corny motivational Silverspoon phrases has been my guitar playing. I haven’t gone anywhere near my Jamplay.com account in months. It will expire at the end of the year. (Check around Christmas time to New Years–they often have discounts if you are interested. Follow the link on the bottom right of this page.) I was doing the usual response: avoiding thinking about guitar or silently beat myself from it.
Then I got one of the 100’s of emails I get from Silverspoon that said: “.000001% is better than o.” That little phrase motivated me to pick up and tune my Fender and do a little Jamplay. Luckily, I had created Anki cards for my guitar lessons and was reminded to go to beginner lessons by Steve Eulberg. I like his lessons not only because they are clear but also because he is cheerful, hopeful, and teaches you how to keep on learning. I’ve been doing ten minutes before I get to bed. I’ve been learning about the logic of chord progressions and playing them. More importantly, getting to the lessons means that I end up with a guitar strapped around my neck and often just end up playing around.
I can’t promise you that I will keep on playing. It’s a one day at a time thing. However, I can take the opportunity to provide you with some pithy “take-aways” from guitar to help you with any skill you want to take on:
- don’t wait for the right materials. Don’t fret about the “right materials” or method. You need momentum. Use the “crappy” materials while you find better stuff. Jamplay is actually excellent but I found myself fretting about the dozens of materials instead of actually picking up the guitar. Luckily, I had created an
SRS flashcard deck out of many of the lessons and that gave me ideas of where to begin. Continue.
- have some fun once the “heavy lifting” has begun. Once I had my guitar and stumbling through a lesson, I also had the guitar in my hands and ready to play around.
- just a little bit keeps the conversation going–when you are learning a skill or learning a language. A little bit each day keeps the skill in play even if not perfected. I started thinking about chord progressions after a short re-exposure to one of Steve Eulberg’s lessons. Light the matches until you can burn the candle.
- put your money where your mouth is–pay for a service. The fact that I paid X dollars for Silverspoon keeps me going. The fact that I have to decide whether to renew Jamplay got me back to the guitar.
- cross-pollinate your interests and “leverage” your interests. I want to know more about music. I could bash myself and note that I don’t know every band that Eric Clapton was in or I could just have fun. Lately, I have been making Japanese
flashcards about Happy End and Harumi Hosono, some of my favorite old style rock groups. Two birds rocking and rollin’.
A New Year is approaching but don’t wait until then. Give it .00000001%!