Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

OK, how do I...

Marshall Paul

Recommended Posts

Through the years of both seeking to learn and teaching various subjects, I'm increasingly convinced that we really don't know a whole heck of a lot yet in terms of learning theory and how we each learn and retain "stuff" differently.


I first was a "teacher" with beginning fencers the winter season of '62 and '63 in high school. "My" kids did exceptionally well in intermurals, so in retrospect I ignorantly almost broke my arms patting myself on the back. I know now it's because those kids learned in spite of, far more than because of how I taught.


Life goes on and I taught various stuff through the '60s and '70s in different ways until in the '80s I got clobbered with the concept that different folks learn stuff differently. Whether it's "nature" or "nurture" is irrelevant; it's a fact.


So I adjusted a lotta my outlooks on teaching stuff and began always to ask students for their feedback after a session to see what they perceived they had learned - and used that feedback to adjust what I was doing as rapidly as possible. Some seemed naturally to catch on, whether it was guitar playing, photography or defense tactics; some got a piece of something that seemed from left field or just dead wrong, so I knew I had to find a different method to help that student learn.


Jump now to around 2001 and some time on my hands. I dug into the Internet for everything I could find on learning theory for two years. I used my own difficulties at learning some "stuff" as a base: Why did I get horrid grades in "foreign language" and felt really stupid in high school, but with a little help from a bilingual dictionary, I could handle reading newspapers in Western European languages excluding Scandinavian and Basque (which is a whole different thing) - and kids who got top marks in high school had forgotten almost everything.


Bottom line from those two years is that I concluded that we know we all learn differently - but there ain't yet a really good way for all teachers to teach all students in all subjects.


My Dad had a master's in philosophy from Harvard, was an outstanding pre-computerized auto and motorcycle mechanic, was an exceptional marksman and typist - but never could catch onto how to write, "save" and print a simple letter on a computer. My "Baby brother" some 28 years younger than I am is an instructor of consultants teaching how to do incredibly complex things in computer operating systems - but even he couldn't get the "how" across.




That's frustrated me for decades. In the '80s I encountered the "PPCT" training programs, met and worked a little with the guy who developed them in terms of first studying human factors in use of appropriate mind-body techniques under stress. All stress affects us in the same physiological ways whether it's playing guitar or ... whatever. That's why I'm convinced that some of the challenges in learning guitar are similar to challenges of any "performance."


But... how actually do we learn? I dunno. I keep asking myself if those I teach who are good learners in spite of me more than because of me; and whether I've completely lost the mark and failed miserably in the case of those students who didn't seem to learn, or quickly lost interest. I console myself by knowing that probably everyone else who cares has probably felt similar reflections.


Me, in metaphor, I'm a "forest" person who loses track of this or that about a tree, but catches on better if I can see the broader view, the "forest." As for the pieces of a puzzle, they mean almost nothing as though I were putting together a jigsaw puzzle without knowing what the picture is supposed to be. For others, they seem to learn easily to catch the physical patterns of individual pieces and have far less stress in putting them together regardless of the "big picture."


Why can a very bright person find one exceptionally complex bit of learning "easy," yet finds something that is perceived as simple to others is difficult for them? I dunno. No idea at all other than "it happens all the time."


Why can I only play guitar with rapid "lead guitar" notes when I'm thinking "fingerpicking with barre chords," but find single string flatpicking those same notes exceptionally difficult?


How do others seem to do it effortlessly?


Doggone if I know unless I "need" a different sort of context than they do.


I think that all of us "here" care about learning additional skill and concepts in playing and/or performing on guitar or we'd not be here. But I'm equally convinced that each of us must do two things to find a breakthrough in our own level of talent toward greater performance. First we have to find different ways to think about what we do; then we have to figure how to train ourselves into a different mode of physical skill development that reflects our insights. Having a "teacher" may or may not help.


Me, I ain't gonna quit trying to learn lots of stuff even though I'm creasy-faced and gray-haired. But on stuff I find difficult, I also recognize my tendency not to go there, and instead work toward increasing skill on stuff that's easier for me personally.


Good? Bad? Human nature? I dunno. I think if I knew I'd be rich and famous instead of just gettin' by as I get older and grouchier - grouchier even at myself for not expressing myself well enough, and for not growing better at things I do consider important and "easier," as well as those I find important but difficult.


<sigh> m

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I truly feel your frustration...I can't post my own avatar, and forget trying to post a video...no idea.



Yeah, with ya Bill (lol). My girlfriend made my avtar thingy while I was in the kitchen making our coffees!

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...