We like to be surprised. If you think of the last YouTube video you watched or online platform you used outside of WordPress (or perhaps within it) the best part was without question when you became enraptured by something.
Why is that?
Why watch a YouTube video of a cat missing a jump and falling out of shot like a cartoon.
I still get caught by those cats, or Simon’s cat.
There was the “double bounce” videos where both kids and cats got shot into the air, or even off camera by a person or preferably two in succession falling on the same mattress.
Someone did this to me on a trampoline when I was a kid. I shot into the air and shrieked.
In all of these cases, maybe even now, we lose ourselves in the thrall of it. In the subject of learning sure, bouncing a cat isn’t exactly a study of the northern Wyoming’s biodiversity but it is still a study nevertheless.
Over the past year I have been more musically focused which is the reason for less of these as I have been over there (pointing to my keyboard, trust me) more than typing these on my phone. But I’ve been enjoying the study of that and I’ve noticed my own growth over the past year. I’m almost 45. Like in two days. I know, it’s scary lol!
But I’ve been making music “seriously” since about the age of 20 or so. (Got my first bass guitar quite late). Anyways I can promise that I am still absolutely enthralled by learning and there is lots to tuck into. My playlist just went to Teru by Wayne Shorter off of his album Adam’s Apple which seems appropriate as listening to that level of musicianship speaks to how much there is still to explore.
Even if it’s what you watch of YouTube. Now some documentaries on there are pretty bland (if there is lots of animations and ‘exciting’ noises it’s probably less of a heavily academic work) but there is some really good ones too. Even though his stuff is a bit of a British cliche by now I would suggest anything hosted by Tony Robinson who has gone from actor to amateur archeologist with programs like Time Team and Walking Through History.
Here’s episode one as a sample.
There’s also Hoopla Audio which is an amazing app you can connect to your local library and can get you music, audio and even plays. For a writing project I’m listening to stuff on Shakespeare including acted plays that are on there.
There’s NPR of course and the Ted Talk series, How I Build This and a variety of other programs on there. I have to mention Car Talk as that has become a early week tradition for me at work laughing along with the episodes by Tom and Ray while I learn about cars. Or at least feel like I’m learning about cars.
And then of course there’s the public library.
Maybe this all starts to get you as you get older but I never was that jazzed about library stuff as a kid. I remember me and my older sister being part of a library kids club back then and she did way better at it than me.
Anyways later later on I wanted to write my first real book based on Lord of the Rings and so I did all this research on everything I could, trying to step up to Tolkien’s level (trying being the key word) and even though, no, I failed to create any languages I really had fun learning about things like archery (which I also did physically-awesome!) and some botany subjects and other things. I remember getting really excited about anything I could tie in like the history of wine. See my Georgia blog for more about this.
So, how to wrap this up! I’d say browse. Browse one of these platforms or the library for something you’d like to know. Make some tea and settle in. No this won’t be something to entertain friends with straight away. Take a quiet moment to settle into this kind of journey.
The world is out there.
One of the biggest mistakes ever has certainly got to do with dreams.
We tell people to follow their dreams but that is it, which inevitably has them either fail and think not for me or they actually move forward. The second case is sadly more rare.
But the point here is how are you learning something?
To me the classic has got to be when I was in scouts as a kid. We had to learn knots, as in all the different kind of ways of tying two ropes together (or one in the examples) like the bowline, reef knot and so on. It’s been a while since this all happened. I will also admit it is not super magical but bear with me.
I couldn’t do it at all. I could tie my shoes but even then only just barely. I remembered left over right, right over left, but that’s it. (Or was it the other way around? Anyways)
Years later I wanted to help fix up my dad’s boat and have everything perfect and for some reason I decided to learn the same knots by myself. In one hour I could flip through the same knots, the exact same ones, over and over.
What happened? Well, it’s the same as with music. I did take guitar lessons once as a kid and got bored. Years later I’m studying bass, then guitar, then keyboard and I have an album coming out.
What happened was the way I learned. The person is the same. The material is the same. The difficulty is the same. But now as a Adhd person who deep dives into subjects, my self teaching makes it actually work.
That’s the magic here. It isn’t limited to guitars and reef knots. Our approach to anything including how people learn can be opened up. You can become literally what ever you imagine.
If you have the dream you have what’s in you to succeed.
Wanted to kick off by saying happy father’s day since I don’t blog Sundays. I remember learning stuff from my dad from math to stuff to do with the car, but of course lots of what I learned is more about who I became.
I’m an ADHD person who has been told by some that he can’t learn fast. I had doctors suggest I had a special typewriter as a kid because of my handwriting.
And yet I spend most my time these days playing my guitar, keyboard and guitar, and when I’m not here, learning as much as I can through audiobooks.
Different people learn differently. An interesting one came from my study of First Nations in Standing on the Edge of Yesterday where the writer talks about how for Native children it is (to her mind) more effective to communicate orally and have the student work on something physical than use pen and paper. Why? Because it has only been a few hundred years (not even) since all information was transferred from Elder to young person by oral traditions and learning. In fact it’s a reason why there would be multiple nuances in spoken language because there was hardly a public school system back then, so language was learned quite literally “in house”.
For myself I had two interesting experiences, one at school and one with boy scouts.
At school I absolutely failed my first year of typing. It was like I just couldn’t bother and was bored of it. For some bizarre reason that I can’t remember (hey, this was 1990…kind of a while back!) I took the course again. I was not distracted by the usual people of my grade and low and beyold…I utterly aced it. I got so fast that people would stare annoyed when my typewriter (like I say, 1990) would sound like a machine gun compared to other kids who were still pecking along slowly.
The other was to do with knots. In scouts they wanted you to learn the different knots such as bowline, reef knot, and so on. Just like in school I was a picked on nerd, so I didn’t want to be there at all. And as the whole thing was already not fun and now I was being talked at about these knots, I couldn’t do one to save my life.
I think that’s the thing too. I’m not Native but I don’t think the school classic system and me ever worked. I get this funny feeling that for me it’s about self directed study because years later I decided I wanted to learn everything about boating. My dad had, and still has, a little sport boat in the garage. Well I thought this thing was amazing and so on my own I learned, and could repeat like Forrest Gump showing his firearm, every single knot in existence…no sweat.
I sucked at music education back then. On my ukelele I just liked strumming, because picking and learning to pick notes in class was boring to me.
⬆️Not to brag but, same kid.⬆️
Listening to The Practicing Mind by Thomas M. Sterner last night reminded me of this when it talked about grades. The idea behind grades was to assess how the learning method was working on the child and not to identify the “wheat” and the “chaff”. He talked about the source of cheating where, because of this same all or nothing mentality, kids would cheat because it was the grade that was important and not the knowing of the material.
Now some kids do learn perfectly in the normal method. Some are more kinesthetic and others like myself are prone to self directed study. This latter gets more interesting when you apply the idea that ADHD tends to promote deep dives into singular subjects (which I experienced with knots, bike mechanics, and then after the age of nineteen, bass guitar)
Gonna wrap up as, ironically, I have to practice and I got up late. Hope this helps annnnnd…
Today’s music choice is another classic, especially with the upcoming Queen biopic which looks amazing. John Deacon is where my curiosity peaked about the bass, and even though he’s not in this, it’s just great.