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Have you tried thinking less?

Posted by WayneConrad on Friday, August 18, 2017

like this

An interaction between my instructor and me:

Richard: "Why do you think you're having trouble with that?"

Me: "I'm having trouble putting together the part I can do instinctively--the chord changes--with the part I'm thinking about, the pentatonic scale patterns.

Richard: "Have you tried thinking less?"

I love my instructor.  He wasn't being snarky--he knows that I am naturally analytical.  That can be a strength (learning theory), but in improvisation, it is not.  He said just the right thing to break me out of that analysis and get me to jump into the deep water.

11 comments on “Have you tried thinking less?”

Boadicea Says:
Thursday, August 24, 2017 @8:32:56 PM

That is a wonderful suggestion! I have exactly the same type of problem! I overthink and overanalyse everything! My banjo teacher did say a similar comment to me!

frailin Says:
Saturday, September 2, 2017 @5:33:47 AM

He's absolutely right! The less you play thinking and the more you play feeling the greater the chance your natural musical gift will express itself. "Thinking less, feeling more" opens many doors! It's not easy to do… but I hope you give it a shot.

Boadicea Says:
Sunday, September 3, 2017 @10:04:38 PM

I am really working towards thinking less and feeling more, it is really hard for me to let go! Thanks for the comment, and encouragement!

I will think of you frailin, and I will give it a shot.

The brokenness in my heart might come out, and that would be very sad for people to hear though. So I guess you have to let go of your fronts, and spend less time on impression management? I hope that I am brave enough!

WayneConrad Says:
Sunday, September 3, 2017 @11:07:57 PM

Don't be afraid of being vulnerable, or showing the broken parts. Making a connection with the audience--or anyone--doesn't come from being safe. It comes from taking a chance. It comes from granting people permission to like you, or not, as they choose. So show your broken heart. Everyone has their own and will understand and accept yours, if you present it honestly.

n1wr Says:
Monday, September 4, 2017 @6:23:48 AM

When you get in touch with your music it becomes a wonderful escape from reality. Just sit and play and let the banjo take you where it will. You'll be surprised how the banjo can take you from sad to happy. Let it. Its a happy instrument, after all.

Boadicea Says:
Wednesday, September 6, 2017 @9:46:23 PM

I guess that is another lesson for me to listen and learn to Wayne! It feels so risky to me at this point. Thanks for your encouragement.

Boadicea Says:
Wednesday, September 6, 2017 @9:48:29 PM

Hey that is a good point @n1wr! It is a happy instrument, however it is also a profound instrument in some ways, and it has a deep connection with history, a sense of time and place as well. There is so much to it.

It just feels that it has gone a bit too far in the other direction, but it will shift eventually!

Boadicea Says:
Wednesday, September 6, 2017 @9:49:13 PM

Thanks for your pointers and hints folks! Much appreciated!

JedMarum Says:
Thursday, September 7, 2017 @6:04:32 AM

I understand his comment and I agree. When I started learning banjo - I was also learning multiple tunings on the guitar and I pretty quickly learned I could never keep all the music theory straight, but my fingers knew where to go. If I didn't think about where I was going, my fingers would take me there. Funny how that works.

Boadicea Says:
Thursday, September 7, 2017 @3:03:41 PM

Hey @JedMarum! Thanks for the that! My music teacher said something similar about your fingers knowing where to go, and I didn't quite believe! So it is a thing! I didn't know that!

Northl Says:
Thursday, October 26, 2017 @4:37:16 PM

I am in awe of you having such a great teacher.

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