Trying something new is hard.
Few of us dance perfectly or sing perfectly or…ahem…play guitar perfectly the first time out of the gate. No one can win an Olympic race without having trained diligently. Even those gifted with natural talent need to work to hone that ability.
I hear you thinking: “Sure, Dawn, but why are you telling me this?”
The answer is that I’m telling myself.
If you’ve been reading along for a while, you know I was excited about getting a guitar for Christmas. When I told people about the coming gift, they’d typically ask at least one of the questions I’ve answered below.
No, I don’t play.
No, I’ve never tried before.
Because I always wanted to.
I started learning using my brother’s old guitar that was in the top of the closet at my parents’ house. I’ve been using it to start toughening up my fingers. It helped me start getting the feel but it’s nylon strings were softer than the steel ones on my new guitar. And it was not a full-size guitar so the finger stretches and arm positioning weren’t quite the same.
So, here in the early days after Christmas, I am typing my blog post and wincing anytime my ring finger or pinkie hits the keys. I can play two chords most of the time, provided I don’t have to change between them too quickly (improved from at all!), and there are two (maybe three) others that I can hit if I stop and think about it long enough. The problem is that my brain is still actively involved in the playing process. My fingers are just following along doing what they are told. It’s not like using this keyboard. I don’t even have to look at the keys any more when I type — unless of course I want to type a percent sign! % % % % Yes, I had to look.
That’s the thing about being able to do something — about owning the ability. The choreography moves from this step follows that step follows that turn to become a beautiful dance. Inserting the hook, pulling up a loop, and wrapping the yarn over becomes a natural movement that creates beautiful crochet. The finger positions and strumming motions move from a head-game to a musical process.
Learning a new instrument or a new sport or a new anything requires repetition. It requires that we put in the time. The amount of time needed may vary from person to person, and how great we’ll become at the task will vary depending on our natural talent, our dedication, and our commitment to improving. Practice is part of the beauty of creation, of training our minds and bodies and honing our skills. The persistence and the patience I bring to the task define how good I can become.
That’s a huge part of why I am doing this #366Days challenge — to hone my skills as a writer and to fire up the writing muscles. How about you? 2016 is now officially just around the corner. Is there something new you’ve wanted to learn or a skill you want to practice more in the coming year? Tell me about it in the comments below.
In the meantime, I’ll be off practicing my chromatic scale and icing my fingers.