This article is a work in progress that I started writing several years ago. I am not an expert on the subject but have written my current thoughts. Please feel free to come to your own conclusions.
This article is based on some of the major ideas discussed in a book entitled “Personal Development for Smart People”. The book suggests that aligning oneself with truth, love and power results in a meaningful, beautiful, good life. It suggests that to grow as a person, one should align oneself with truth, love, and power. I guess you could say that the author, Steve Pavlina, describes the metalanguage of personal growth.
Steve argues that personal growth is fundamentally a combination of truth, love, and power. So far this idea holds true for me! I received a copy of the book with the implicit agreement that I’d write something relating learning music and personal development. It’s a very good book. I believe that aligning one’s self with truth, love and power contributes to meaningful, beautiful, good music, and is a great way to improve other parts of one’s life.
Truth is truth. Perception. Awareness. Feeling. Discovering. Open-mindedness. Everyone has their own way to perceive and understand truth. Listen.
Love is love. Of self. Of people. Of nature. Good intentions. Higher goals. Kindness. Compassion.
Love is connecting with someone, something or yourself in a positive way.
Power is empowerment of self and others. The ability to do what you want. To have your own freedom. To be strong and healthy. True power does not corrupt a person because to be corrupted is to lose one’s power and to succumb to forces that are destructive of one’s self.
Learning music in alignment with truth, love and power
To learn well means to learn with truth, love and power.
Truth in learning music
To understand something is to see, hear, feel the nature of some thing. Three big truths that I encounter in learning guitar and music are:
- technical knowledge
- knowing ones current limits
- and being aware of the situation
Technical knowledge means knowing how to tune your instrument, to play in time, to play harmonies and melodies.
If you admit your current limits you can better express yourself. It’s the first step to improving what you don’t know how to do. A lot of people don’t want to admit they can’t really play something. Instead of admitting truth and then truly learning it, they just keep making the same mistakes.
Being aware of the current situation requires a person to be in touch with the current state of the music. I think this means grooving, listening to others, listening to yourself. Most importantly, being in the flow of the music.
Wanting to improve but not knowing how
Most people realize when they can’t do what they want or they didn’t play how they wanted. They may get frustrated with themselves and their perception of the current situation. Just because someone knows what you want to do better doesn’t mean you know how to actually do it better. One should be glad that one can see what can be improved. And once you know how to improve something you actually have to improve it.
Acting upon ones knowledge can take a lot of skill, too. You need a place to practice, preferably without distractions. You need the time and energy to focus on practicing, too. Finding practice time may be easy to find, but can be quite a learning challenge as well.
For example, say you played a song in 5 (like Take Five). It didn’t work out so well because you have never played in 5 before.
- Realizing the situation – you realize you could play in 5 a lot better.
- Figuring out a solution – you decide you are going to practice with a metronome in 5 and also along to songs in 5 to get better.
- Taking action – you actually practice what you have been planning to practice and you practice for 10 minutes a day for a month
Love in learning music
Love learning music! Find out what music you love and seek to learn it. When one plays, try be in a state of lovingness. Be compassionate with yourself. Some things might take time to learn. Send out love into the world through your instrument. Don’t wait until you feel you are technically proficient to send out the love, just send out the love and let the other stuff follow.
Power in learning music
Imagine the feel and sound of great music in the present and future. And value all of the important elements that better prepare you to create good music. Enough sleep. Good food. A clear mind. Exercise. A commitment to playing from your heart. Using self-discipline to work on the musical problems that you encounter. The conscious effort of developing your personal strength so that you can better learn and play music. Continually striving to express your ideas.
Truth, love and power are important aspects of life. Find the strength to overcome your fears and doubts so that your music flows freely. To read more about some of the general ideas discussed above, go to stevepavlina.com.
Thanks and best wishes.