More thoughts on learning and skype lessons

April 3rd, 2012

I’ve been reading this book on landscape painting by Ted Gould* and I came across his insightful remark – that technique can’t be taught.

This is a direct affirmation of my own long-held belief – that you can’t teach technique to someone, you can only provide them with directions on how they can go about acquiring that technique for themselves.

This is based on the same kind of logic that says you can’t eat a chocolate for someone.

Or hire someone to work out and get that six-pack for you.

Or practice for someone.

The key word is ‘experiential.’

To learn anything, you have to experience it yourself.

To understand how the tremolo is played, you’ll have to do it yourself, and if you do it long enough, the breakthrough will come and you will understand perfectly how it’s done,

A teacher can help you get to that point quicker. Books and instructions and advice from friends can help you get there earlier too (or maybe not, depending on who’s dispensing the advice).

But unless you practice diligently, all the advice you get is absolutely worthless.

Take the current brouhaha about the dismal state of our education, and placing the blame on teachers.

The misunderstanding is based on a warped idea of how learning takes place.

Going back to the chocolate analogy, unless students want to eat that chocolate (substitute that for ‘learn’), they’ll never get to taste it (substitute that for ‘acquire the knowledge.)

A simple truth and yet no one wants to face it.

These past few months, I’ve been doing some more in-depth analysis of the mechanics of the tremolo technique and I’m astounded by what I’ve discovered. It turns out that the technique is much more complex than I thought it to be.

It’s a veritable Swiss watch of guitar technique.

So many elements and factors have to be in place before you can master the technique. One element out of sync or missing, and you’re out of luck.

How does anyone learn how to put all these elements in place?

Practice and experiencing.

To describe everyone of these elements in detail would require a ton of instructions, and would probably create more confusion than understanding.

So I guess the million dollar question is, if technique can’t be taught, what’s the point of having teachers?

And closer to home, what’s the point of all these books – more specifically, the “AOV” or the “AOV for guitar”

Here, we come to the crux of the matter.

These books are not designed to turn you into a virtuoso overnight.

They’re like recipe books. You can’t eat a recipe book, but you can follow the directions inside and hopefully come up with a good tasting meal.

They’re like road maps. They’ll show you the way to San Jose, but unless you get into your car and start driving, you’re still not in San Jose.

On that ominous note, I’ll like to mention that after several requests for skype lessons and several successful sessions, I’ve decided to offer skype lessons to anyone who has purchased the AOV for Guitar.

Please send me an email if you’re interested.


*This is by no means an endorsement of the book.

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