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Making it stick

By April 7, 2019 No Comments

When was the last time you learnt a new skill? Perhaps you’re learning one right now and I’ll stick my neck out and guess that you’re over the age of 12 and most likely north of 25. In which case, my second question is, how easy has it been to take in what you’ve read or watched and then repeated and applied yourself? I’ll take another guess and say it was tough.

It’s been proven that as we get older the way we learn changes partially due to the sheer volume of “stuff” that’s already in our brains. There’s a great demonstration of this in a recent documentary on the BBC. Titled “The Human Body: Secrets of Your Life Revealed”, in a short example a 30 something and 12 year old are taught how to juggle and after a week come back and demonstrate how they got on. Spoiler alert, the child’s skills are far ahead of the adults.

I say all this with positive developments that after last month’s blog, I have spent quality time with the session and layout view in Live. I revisited my learnings from the weekend course, spending time making new loops, intertwining with watching and repeating some of the excellent Ableton tutorials and other artist experiences online.

It’s said that if you start anything new, and make it a habit and part of your routine, that it takes a solid 30 days for that behaviour or action to stick. I can vouch for that from a physical perspective. Cycling and running is the norm and I get super-itchy if I miss a day of either (thankfully we have Cooper now for long walks).

It’s clear to me now that mentally it’s the same. None of what I’m doing to learn Live and create music sticks unless I keep it in mind as often as I can. If I can’t get to the laptop and Live or Push then writing down my thoughts keeps the mental juices flowing. The biggest challenge is simply practical; translating the idea and the sound I want in my head, to out loud using the tools I have.

I’m acutely aware that every artist has had the same challenge, even those most gifted creators. There’s a process you go through and its rarely right first, second or tenth time. Add in age and (my current) basic ability to get used to the tools and equipment, to translate my vision into something vaguely resembling an audible treat, it’s tough!

I’m totally committed to this since the whole point was to do something completely different, that I had a passion for, so I know it’ll come good. It’s going to take time.

Interestingly compiling New Seeds every 4 weeks, listening to lots of new music has taken on a new dimension where I’m honing in on the composition and the structure, as well as listening to my heart and the “feels”; where and how does the music hit me? Where in the song do the goose-bumps come from? When does the head-nodding start and stop?

Back to the opening questions, I’d love to hear about your experiences. Perhaps this might trigger some inspiration for you. If it does, you might want to check out this short talk on how one guy took on the challenge of learning something new every 30 days.

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