(An expanded and edited version of this post appears in Rhan’s new book, All In Good Time – a Book About Playing Music for the Aspiring Ukulele Player. It is available at: www.rhanwilson.com/allingoodtime )
For those of you who may not know it – I teach music classes to a lot of beginning/intermediate ukers and guitar players, percussionists and singers.
One of the things I used to say was that when some new information was too advanced to comprehend, let it go over your head and instead focus on some other aspect of the information that is easier to grasp. There will always be something to be learned in any situation.
I have changed by advice lately – changing my statement to be: put it into orbit!
Instead of imagining to have something go over your head and away and then having to find it somewhere, somehow later, or even have it be lost forever – imagine that same information stored close at hand so when you’re ready to understand it, it’s right there – in a metaphorical orbit around your head.
It’s nearby, ready to access.
For instance, I have often mentioned to my class a particular chord – the minor 7th flat 5 chord. I see the scared reactions from people.
“Oh my GOD that is a horrible chord!” they seem to think.
So I say, “Don’t worry about it – just be aware of that chord, put it into orbit, and it will make sense later.”
Then later I go about to explain this “other” simple to play chord that only uses two fingers over two frets. Everyone gets it. When I tell them that this chord is in fact a m7b5 chord (minor 7th flat 5), they all get this amazed look on their face. They got it!
And this technique has worked on me as well, though I didn’t know it at the time. Many years ago, I was working with a very skilled jazz musician who was explaining chord scales to me. I understood a little of what he was saying, but much of it went wayyyyy over my head. Somehow, I managed to file that information somewhere in my head (in orbit) and a few weeks later under a different circumstance – it all came back to me and made perfect sense.
So now, when you are faced with something that is a bit “over your head” – let it stay up there, but instead of imagining it zipping on past and away – imagine it floating around above you – ready to be understood and incorporated into your knowledge banks!
So here’s a question for you all – has anything seemed too difficult for you at a particular time, yet later under a different circumstance – made sense? It doesn’t have to be about music; it could be about cooking, assembling an appliance, gardening, work, money… anything.
I’d like to hear about it.