Last night was another lesson on Kansas City on the C6 neck. As I have been telling you practice, practice, practice. I need to take my own advice. This week since last Sunday has been one of the busiest times for me both at work and at home. I have not been able to practice since Sunday, meaning only 3 hours for the week and this is Friday! When I went to my lesson last night, I was thinking, I am not going to remember anything let alone the last lesson. Boy, did I surprise myself. I left directly from work and went to my lesson. When I arrived my instructor and I chatted as I set up. Once I was set up, I did not tell my instructor right away I had not practiced. I felt like a school kid who did not do his homework! So while we were chatting I had the volume off and I went through what I thought I should know. Surprise! "I got it!" I thought. So I turned up the volume and my instructor wanted me to play so I did. I missed one little part and when my instructor told me what I did wrong, I could remember it. Now, mind you I am learning the mechanics of the song and not focusing on timing as much as I am remembering this song and looking at precision on my second octave work.
While practice is very important, I guess there is something to be said for practicing too much. Taking a break from it sometimes helps. It also contributes to forgetting so balance is in order. I am still finding this balance. As an example, when I practice, I will go over and over the same small phrase. At first obviously, I do not get it. As I practice I start getting it. After a couple of hours I start to mess up again. I then take a break and come back to it and sometimes I get it and other times I wreck. If I wreck I quit for the night and come back to it the next day. When I come back to it the next day, I can usually get it every time. I guess my brain needs time to internalize what I am trying to learn. My instructor also said something to me that some people are naturals and it comes to them easily. I have never been one of those people. All the way through school, up to my graduate degree I struggled with learning. I had to work twice as hard to get the A's and B's that came easy to others. However, the difference was that I tend to retain the information longer with a deeper understanding. IMHO this goes to the education system rewarding parroting over real learning. In school, if you can memorize then you get good grades. Yet, if you take the time to understand the fundamentals then you can extend that learning with a full understanding of the material. This is what I think is happening with my learning the steel guitar. In baby steps I am learning with better understanding of what I am doing. Not that I am gifted by any stretch of the imagination. I also think that the last three years on the E9 neck has somehow, yet not understood, led to my learning the C6 neck a little quicker. I do think that my love and passion do have influence on my learning. I also think I have a very good instructor.
Now that I am almost through the entire song, I am going to focus still on precision but emphasize the timing so it starts to sound like the song. I am looking forward to this. I think for my next post, I want to talk a little about how we can promote the steel guitar. As always I am looking for feedback, comments and suggestions. Have a good weekend everyone.