Lately I’ve been feeling like I have hit a plateau in my learning. You know the place, you keep practicing but don’t seem to make any progress. This is a frustrating place to be, to say the least. I’ve been here many time and have learned to recognize it as such, but still, I have been struggling with finding the motivation to sit down and practice.
Often, during practice sessions, I find myself rushing through lessons, videos, courses, etc. just to get them done. To check them off my list. But I have come to realize this does not serve me well. At the end of day I may be able to say that I finished a lesson, but I can’t always say that I truly learned the concepts presented and am ready to move on. Time and again it occurs to me that the old adage still holds true, “Slow and Steady Wins The Race”
For the past few weeks I have been working through Ed Friedland’s 8 week course on Walking Bass Lines via ScottsBassLessons.com. Looking back it seems that I have been breezing through Ed’s course thinking that I am grasping the concept but realized tonight, at week 6, that I haven’t been putting in the time and am actually over my head. Once I discerned this, I decided to go back and start the course over again at week 1. It became obvious to me that if I want to succeed with this course I need to focus on the foundations before moving on. There is no rush, I can access the course materials any time I like, just because there is a new lesson every week it does not mean that I need to keep up. Working at a pace that is more comfortable for me ensures that I am truly learning.
About the same time I started the Walking Bass Lines course I also moved on to Lesson 15 of Teach Me Bass Guitar. The lesson introduces the concept of two hand tapping, which for me has been very slow going. Honestly, at first I pretty much threw up my hands and told myself I would never learn how to two hand tap, and why should I? I will most likely never use it! Not wanting to give up, I quickly got over myself and have kept plugging along little by little, and you know what, tonight I can actually do it! Mind you, I still have a ways to go, but I feel like I am actually making progress.
Working through these two courses simultaneously I now see that I was rushing through the Walking Bass Lines course, partly because I am presented with a new lesson each week and felt like I need to move on, but mostly because I wasn’t putting in the time needed to get the concepts down. On the other hand, with Lesson 15 of TMBG I have been taking the Slow an Steady Wins The Race approach, and feel like I am making great progress.
Tonight I learned that it is important to be patient with myself when learning new concepts. Rushing may get me to the finish line quicker, but if I haven’t learned anything along the way, what’s the point? I need to remember to slow down, take my time and stay focused on my goals. It may not happen as quickly as I would like, but I will get there.