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Showing posts from April, 2014

Mastering Mastery

Any craft demands mastery.  But what is mastery?

A master chef does not simply make chicken once and then never again.  Mastery neither occurs from only making chicken nor does it occur from constantly learning new recipes.  It's a balance of both.

Mastery is an almost indefinable combination of many things.  It means there's a willingness to still learn and an appreciation for details.  A true master chef, for example, understands everything there is to know about chicken.  What seasoning tastes good on it, how long it takes to cook on a stove, in a grill or baked.  Mastery of a craft means that there is enough of an understanding to draw out lessons or techniques from other experiences and apply them to what is going on right now.

The same applies to learning an instrument.  The goal should never be to learn as many pieces as quickly as possible.  The goal should be mastery.  Who cares if one student knows twelve pieces and the other knows ten?  What skills did the the stude…

The Practice Partner

I recently got the game Rocksmith for my PlayStation.  For those that are unfamiliar with gaming, Rocksmith is a spin on a game called Guitar Hero that was really popular a couple of years ago.  What you did was use a toy guitar that looked like this:

And then your game screen looked like this:

The colored bump you saw on the screen corresponded with the button you were supposed to press on the guitar controller while flicking the switch on the body of the guitar to mimic strumming.  You can see why this was cool.  Plus it made for a great game at parties as your friends cheered on your impressive button mashing skills.
Eventually the fad wore off but a new type of game has entered the picture: Rocksmith.  Rocksmith has the same format but instead of button mashing you have to plug in a real guitar.  Yes, you read that right.  It uses a game to teach real instrument skills.
So argue all you want about the can of worms this opens (can it replace the private teachers, good technique, et…