I’m an old man.
I turn 32 this year and while I don’t believe that’s “old” or that age is what makes you old-I assure you, I’m old. (I started wearing slippers around the house this year. It’s fantastic….I’m old)
I’ve seen this development of facebook groups where people post questions into the Ether, waiting to learn how to do “X”.
I’ve seen time after time where they’re presented with a litany of answers, most of which contradict each other, and don’t ever provide any context of Why, or the next steps to solve their problem on their own.
While my natural inclination is to get mad at those “damn kids and their social media”, (remember: I’m an old man) I felt like there was something deeper there, that wasn’t sitting right with me.
It’s the age old problem of giving a man a fish, or teaching him to fish.
Side note: If you’re a Business you should be in the business of both. Sell the food, and sell a cookbook. Teach “how to” courses and sell templates.
All of this got me thinking.
How do we learn? Is there a process that we can apply to almost any field, or skill to learn?
Below is my attempt to present a systematic approach to learning. Try it, apply it, and see what happens.
Start with a purpose
Why do you want to learn it? What will be the outcome? You want to teach it after you learn it? You want to get a job doing this?
Having a purpose will carry you through the tough times. It will keep you motivated. It’s the “light” at the end of the tunnel.
Learn the fundamentals
You need to learn the “language” of the skill you’re looking to learn. If it’s software-learn the interface. If it’s a language-learn the “parts of speech”, learn the rules. It’s time to learn the basic building blocks.
The best way to learn the fundamentals of anything? Read the manual. It’s not sexy. Yes I understand-no one reads any more, but You read. You want to learn. Start right at the source. There’s always a manual-no matter what you’re doing. Someone wrote the Bible of X. Someone did a course online or wrote a book that’s a must read in that subject-start there.
Learn basic “standard” skills
It doesn’t matter what program you use to record, every major DAW does the same basic things. Record, Edit, Mix. Learn to do those things in your software. You’re now learning to build sentences.
“Donde esta el baño”?
You’re starting to learn the basic plays.
Start Applying it
Find a pickup game where you can join in. Start making music. Speak that language throughout a meal.
The goal is to use it.
Make lots of mistakes. Make as many mistakes as possible, because that’s where we learn.
Find a mentor. You don’t need an actual person, or need to actually meet them, but find someone you respect. You want to make music like this person. This person is a leader in the field.
How do they do it? What do their songs sound like? How did they solve the problem?
If you can-find someone in person. Seek their advice. Are you doing it right?
Pay an expert. Someone that’s going to correct you, help you pronounce the words correctly, form the sentences correctly.
Make it your own
Start to make it your own. This is where you can get creative with it. You learn the rules so you can break them. Never use parallel fifths-unless you want to. This is where breakthroughs happen. Where light bulbs go off. Where it starts to be fun.
In today’s world, you have access to every resource you need to learn anything. Most of it’s free. You’re a skype call away from talking to any “expert” in the world.
There’s no excuse as to why you can’t learn something you want to know.
It’s on you now.
You’ve got to do the work now, so that soon you can help someone on the same path you were on a few years ago.Photo Credit: Feliphe Schiarolli