August 7, 2013

This is harder than it looks

I just got a fancy new software package. It’s perfect for me - now instead of typing on my keyboard, I just talk to my computer.  It really isn’t hard.   Except now it is.  I’m having to learn to do things completely differently. My little machine listens to me and dutifully writes down everything I say.

This is a problem. You see, I’m not used to saying aloud what I’m trying to write. And actually, it’s quite challenging to write while you’re talking – this is very different.  When I'm typing it just comes out.  I can correct it on the fly (of course when I'm typing the computer isn't trying to guess what I said or how to spell it either!).  So, I am going to learn how to do something new. It’s a lot harder than I thought it would be.

How many times do we think this when we're learning a tune? We think it should be easy. It’s an easy tune. Everybody else learned it really quickly. It’s not that complicated! I should be able play this. :-(
And yet sometimes we run into tunes that make us do things differently. Sometimes what is easy, isn’t. It might look easy on paper. It might have been easy for the person next to us in the workshop.  But it’s just not coming together for us. We’ve all been there – we don't like being there, but we’ve been there. And so what are we supposed to do?
Here are three things we can do to make it easier (whether it’s learning a tune, or how to type by talking):
1. Take it slowly. Whether the tune is simple or if the software says you can use it right out of the box, we need to give ourselves the time to absorb what it is were trying to learn. Zorching off as fast as we possibly can, because "it’s easy,” just makes us frustrated. Take your time. (Yes, I am always exhorting you to slow down...because, usually, this is the solution!)
2. Think -  what about the tune is challenging. It’s not likely the entire thing is hard for you. It is more likely that there is just one thing that you’re struggling with. Take the time to examine what’s giving you a hard time and see if you can parse that into smaller elements that you can work on independently. Once you have those down, fit it into the rest of the music - slowly.
3. Quit worrying about whatever everyone else is doing. I saw recently a really good quote that said something about never forgetting that you only see other people's "highlight reels" while you focus on your own "bloopers".  Mostly people won't own up the having a hard time...they're too worried about what everyone else will think...but really - no one else cares. So forget the litany in your own head about how you’re never going to get it and realize nobody else will admit that. Get over it and get back to work.

No comments: