As I look back on all the ways that I have learned, all of the things that I now know, that I have learned it all by doing. When I wanted to paint, I just painted, When I wanted to learn how to play a song, I just listened to it, and attempted to eke it out on the piano or guitar. When I wanted to build something, I just started sawing and nailing.
My stuff is CRAP! Well, it started out crap. The stuff I liked to do, the stuff I stuck with, ended up getting more and more refined. And the more I learned how to do that stuff, I got better at other stuff, stuff I didn’t even know related. The more I learned about music, the better I got at painting. The more I learned about martial arts, the better I got at building, The more I learned about building, the better I got at music. Life is amazing.
—-THE PRECEDING PARAGRAPH WAS BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE WORD “STUFF”—–
I had a friend who had a teacher that told him “There is one art, the human art.” I love to live by this.
I had a piano teacher, Frank Singer, who told me, and wrote in my manuscript book, that learning goes from:
SLOPPY——>to——->REFINED. You start out messy, and just keep doing, keep going until it gets better and better and better. And this was an amazing life lesson for me, when I saw that Frank was right, when his teaching WORKED, and I was able to play better and better and understand the layout of the keyboard more and more, and better still, to have some kind of intimate relationship between my fingers and keyboard itself. I began to KNOW the keyboard. To this day, I can’t look at piano or organ layout without having music theory knock me in the skull. Thanks, Frank!
“There is one art, the human art.” I look through my music lesson books, the manuscript paper on which Frank wrote out all of my lessons. In three full books of exercises, the word RELAX appears, underlined and in all caps, about seven times. I didn’t understand what it meant until…
I started learning how to be a magician. Here, you are forced to relax. If there is any tension in your body where there shouldn’t be tension, people know that something sneaky is happening. I had to learn to relax. Brent Braun, the magician, taught me how to relax. He taught me how to believe in my own magic.
“If you want people to think that there is a coin in that hand, then you have to believe that there is coin in that hand. The tension should be where the coin is supposed to be, not where it is.”
“Don’t ever try to hide anything. If you are hiding it, they will see it. Ignore it. It’s not there. Believe your own magic, and they will believe in it too. Relax.”
“Apply this all to your life. Use only the tension required. Not more, not less. Don’t be sloppy. You want to be a good magician, practice in your life. When you close a door, do it quietly, and relaxed. Use only the tension needed to close that door. Don’t slam it, don’t try to be quiet. When you set a book on the table, just set it down gently, it’s all economy of motion, and this is how magic is done.”
I did all these things, I applied all of these principles. And they work. There’s so much more, I feel like someday I should write a book about the intersection of all the arts. And science.
Relaxation, economy of motion, sloppy to refined. These are things that guide my life. This is how I learn. I’ve had many more teachers, some willing, some not-so-willing. But they were there. Frank and Brent. Teachers extraordinaire.
A heartfelt thanks to both of you for molding the way that I learn.
Written for the Daily Prompt: Learning Style.