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Mivo
09-23-2015, 01:11 PM
I don't know if this article from Psychology Today (by Sam Osherson) was already posted here, but I enjoyed reading it and wanted to share it. :)

What Iíve learned from learning the Ukulele
Creativity means learning to have a successful failure

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/listen/201502/what-i-ve-learned-learning-the-ukulele

Recstar24
09-23-2015, 01:33 PM
Thanks for sharing. That is probably the best article I've read about some of the inner emotional and psychological workings of creating music, regardless of whether it's the ukulele or not.

I would highly recommend reading the musicians soul by James Jordan. It's a whole book that deals with some of the topics the article brings up. One interesting point is the chapter on mimetics, which is the study of envy. Musicians have a certain envy for the perfect sound, or for the talent or ability to achieve the perfect sound. We also are envious or jealous of those that have that power to create the music we want to create. When we don't, we turn negative inside ourself which reflects negativity outwards and further disrupts our music making. It really does come down to accepting failure and mistakes, focusing on growth and progress, and being accepting of wherever we may be in our musical journey.

turtledrum
09-23-2015, 01:36 PM
Thank you for this posting. I really enjoyed the article and Recstar' s thoughts.

Nickie
09-23-2015, 02:14 PM
Thanks for your article. It gives me hope that I can get better at this!
I too failed at an instrument before the ukulele.

Futurethink
09-23-2015, 02:37 PM
I really enjoyed reading that. Partly for the message, and partly for the word-craft. Thank you for the link.

Hippie Dribble
09-23-2015, 02:43 PM
Thanks for the link. I've walked the same path. Then turned around and walked it again. It's a continual journey; even when you've been to hell and back and come to the point of 'knowing' the struggle continues to let go.

70sSanO
09-23-2015, 03:02 PM
Excellent read. I always get nervous when I play my uke in front of others. I've played some bass but I was able to hide back with drummer. But a solo instrument puts me out there so I can identify with the article.

One thing struck me. It would be more difficult to perform in front of other players than the general public. The general public has no familiarity with the ukulele and would be blown away with any rendition of Blue Roses, but everyone here can compare it to the original.

John

janeray1940
09-23-2015, 03:14 PM
Mivo, thank you for posting such a wonderful article. I could relate to much of it (having been through a good half-dozen musical wars myself!) but one idea that stood out in particular for me was "to play a beautiful piece of music, even as an amateur, is a great joy." That is reason enough, in and of itself, to do what we are doing - I get asked all the time why I do what I do, and no answer I've ever given to anyone has captured it as well as that sentence.

DownUpDave
09-23-2015, 03:16 PM
Thanks so much........that was awesome. Mivo you deserve another custom uke for that contribution.

I will be book marking this for reference during those times I need a little pick me up. Or at least some perspective and a reality check. I love the part about performance camp and all the desire to perform coupled with the anixety of potential failure. Good stuff buddy

PhilUSAFRet
09-23-2015, 03:45 PM
Great stuff, thanks for sharing

Joyful Uke
09-23-2015, 04:04 PM
Great article. Thanks for sharing it.

Katz-in-Boots
09-23-2015, 04:11 PM
Thanks from me too. A great article. As someone who suffers greatly with performance anxiety, it really resonated with me.

kvehe
09-23-2015, 04:32 PM
Thank you so much! This article is exactly what I needed tonight. Perfect timing.

Mivo
09-24-2015, 12:36 AM
Glad the article was new to you folks, too. :) I found it an immensely motivating read that really resonated with me. It's curious how many of us had this devastating First Encounter with a piano teacher at a young age, which then, in one way or another, affected us in the decades that followed.

Mine was similar to the author's: I was just about 12 or 13 and had gotten a Hohner organ from my grandparents (always the best for the boy, unfortunately also always bundled with crushing expectations that were impossible to meet). I was sent off to a piano teacher who had the charisma of a broom. A very stiff broom. It was dislike at first sight, and the lack of progress reflected that.

She was fairly patronizing and sarcastic, which caused me to rebel, and certainly, I wasn't having fun -- and found the built-in rhythm machine of the organ more fascinating than anything she talked about. I stopped going after a few hours after she had made it clear she really didn't want to teach me, and dealt with the grandparental disapproval of the "You never follow through with anything, maybe we shouldn't have spent all this money on the organ." bitter flavor.

This was in the first half/middle of the 1980s, long before YouTube and such. While I believe that today's kids and teens are exposed to an unfortunate and completely overwhelming, often paralyzing, amount of information, I also feel that they (and we) have it so much easier now to not only find learning methods that are compatible with them, but also have all the material needed for self-study right in front of them.

I do think that a flesh-and-blood teacher has much to offer, and is probably invaluable, but actually finding a non-pixelated teacher who is not only competent and pedagogically impressive, but also fits with one's personality, is tremendously hard. (On the flip side, I'll say that I've had a couple school teachers who were strict as heck and who nevertheless, or because of it, taught me a lot, possibly because I yearned to be accepted by them. Then again, I actually respected them for who they were, and they didn't make me want to pee on their carpet just to annoy them).

Rtnrlfy
09-24-2015, 02:58 AM
As a piano teacher myself, I just want to comment on how sad I feel that so many people seem to have had such poor experiences with teachers. I've always encouraged my students to strive for excellence (and I think excellence is different from virtuosity - being the very best that _you_ can be is more important IMHO than being better than everyone else) but what I really want most for them is to come to love music even more than they did when they started lessons, not just the making of it but also the hearing and experiencing. I've never had a student go on to be a professional, but I _have_ had students go on to explore and enjoy music in a variety of settings - and that, to me, is incredibly satisfying.

To the OP, thanks for the article - I struggle with performance anxiety and perfectionist tendencies and this was a helpful read.

Lesley

Jon Moody
09-24-2015, 03:20 AM
This was in the first half/middle of the 1980s, long before YouTube and such. While I believe that today's kids and teens are exposed to an unfortunate and completely overwhelming, often paralyzing, amount of information, I also feel that they (and we) have it so much easier now to not only find learning methods that are compatible with them, but also have all the material needed for self-study right in front of them.

The only problem I see with ALL of this information is that in getting it immediately, many assume it's that simple to learn/implement it into your playing. That's where I see a lot of frustration from players (of all instruments) as of late; they're frustrated that they didn't pick up some technique they saw on YouTube after a week. They forget that the person who made the video probably spent hours upon hours working on it.



I do think that a flesh-and-blood teacher has much to offer, and is probably invaluable, but actually finding a non-pixelated teacher who is not only competent and pedagogically impressive, but also fits with one's personality, is tremendously hard. (On the flip side, I'll say that I've had a couple school teachers who were strict as heck and who nevertheless, or because of it, taught me a lot, possibly because I yearned to be accepted by them. Then again, I actually respected them for who they were, and they didn't make me want to pee on their carpet just to annoy them).

A flesh-and-blood teacher - whether in person or online like Skype lessons - has the ability to immediately spot issues and bad habits, and help you adjust immediately.

As for finding one that you are compatible with, it shouldn't be that hard. If you have the ability to, I'd suggest going and talking with the teacher prior to scheduling any lessons, to make sure it'll work. I've seen a lot of my friends (who teach privately) are doing this first, because as much as you want to make sure you're getting the most out of your lessons, they also want to make sure you're not just wasting time.

Mivo
09-24-2015, 03:35 AM
As a piano teacher myself, I just want to comment on how sad I feel that so many people seem to have had such poor experiences with teachers.

I believe it's just hard in general, and in any field, to find a teacher that is a good fit. There's certainly the element of experience and ability to inspire (which, I think, is a trait rather than something that can easily be learned; people, somehow, pick up on whether someone is genuine or not), as well as competence on the subject that they teach, but a large part, I feel, is just a matter of individual chemistry.

Looking back at my school time (I went to quite a few due to moving and other reasons), there were only a handful of teachers who managed to kindle lasting enthusiasm in me. It was easier for those who taught subjects that interested me (the "talk-y" kind of subjects, like religion, history, sociology), and harder for those who were unfortunate enough to be tasked to teach me something about math, physics and other entirely too logical things.

I did have one physics teacher who made an impression, and I don't even know why. He was an older, rather disillusioned teacher, but, and I think that made all the difference, he listened. He was interested in my opinions, even though physics left me cold (in fact, we spent most of the time discussing the stock market, which I was super interested in when I was sixteen and broke; by the time I had income and could have applied my knowledge, I was naturally no longer interested!). In turn, that made me want to learn from him, and my grades improved.

It was, though, for the most part, solely a matter of compatible personalities and mutual respect. I also never felt criticized by that teacher, even when he did, which I think was of tremendous importance to me as a somewhat troubled teenager who didn't feel like he fit anywhere, which presumably many teenagers experience. Delivering criticism without making the recipient feel "defensive" is an art.

I have a lot of respect for teachers who care, and who continue to care even when they are not always, or only rarely, appreciated. I think the lack of appreciation is very pronounced especially in public schools. Perhaps caring goes hand in hand with having a "mission", wanting to make a difference, rather than just doing the job they get paid for. Then again, that probably applies to many professions.

gitarzan
09-24-2015, 04:20 AM
The creative process is essential to our mental health (https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/health). Art, music, poetry, and storytelling have always been ways for people to make meaning of their experience; such pursuits are entwined with our evolutionary history and growth into social organisms. It builds to a crescendo as we age. The ambiguities and mysteries of life accumulate as we get older. Creative pursuits are a way for us to give voice to the “unknown knowns” embedded in our life experiences.[1]
[1] Robert Haas and E. O Wilson, The Poetic Species, NY: Bellevue Literary Press, 2014.


Excellent!

Rllink
09-24-2015, 04:34 AM
Interesting and thought provoking article, but I don't know what to make of it. It just seemed to me that he had a lot of baggage that he had to shed. I always think that it is interesting what gets in people's way sometimes.

70sSanO
09-24-2015, 04:46 AM
Interesting and thought provoking article, but I don't know what to make of it. It just seemed to me that he had a lot of baggage that he had to shed. I always think that it is interesting what gets in people's way sometimes.

I'm not so sure about that. Playing an instrument is not that much different than learning any activity that demands a motor skill and then executing that skill under pressure before other people.

There have been a number of "Inner" books that were written to help people execute a golf shot or return a tennis ball, especially in tournaments, without first convincing themselves that they are going to screw it up and miss the shot. The mind can trump all the skill and no one wants to be associated with an infamous fail.

John

Rllink
09-24-2015, 04:51 AM
I'm not so sure about that. Playing an instrument is not that much different than learning any activity that demands a motor skill and then executing that skill under pressure before other people.

There have been a number of "Inner" books that were written to help people execute a golf shot or return a tennis ball, especially in tournaments, without first convincing themselves that they are going to screw it up and miss the shot. The mind can trump all the skill and no one wants to be associated with an infamous fail.

JohnOh, I agree with you a hundred percent. I've faced my own demons over my lifetime. Sometimes we are our own biggest obstacle. In fact, I took singing lessons this summer, and the first time I told my voice coach that I wasn't a very good singer, he told me that he didn't ever want to hear me say that again. He said that no one ever got good at anything, by going around telling themselves that they weren't good at it. And I've found that positive approach to my whole ukulele experience to be beneficial. So I understand that well. I just found his to be interesting, that's all.

hollisdwyer
09-24-2015, 05:05 AM
"Perhaps it comes down to being gentle with oneself. When we are, we can open up a space inside where we can allow ourselves to emerge. When we can calm ourselves, we live less in a land of powerful gods who breathe judgment, pain and humiliation and more in a land with other people, each with their own struggles, speaking to each other in an artful, passionate way. Sharing their light and their gift of fire."
Dr. Sam Osherson - Professor of Psychology, Fielding Graduate University

Many, if not most of us, suffer from performance anxiety. What I get out of this article that is beneficial is the reminder to be gentle with ourselves, to ultimately allow ourselves to emerge. That is a good enough of a lesson for today.

Joyful Uke
09-24-2015, 05:33 AM
"It's curious how many of us had this devastating First Encounter with a piano teacher at a young age, which then, in one way or another, affected us in the decades that followed."

Back in my youth, it was OK for a piano teacher to hit a student, and anytime I hit a wrong note or otherwise failed at perfection, (grade school age), the teacher would slap me. Needless to say, I don't enjoy playing piano.

My tactic for getting out of piano lessons was to convince my parents to let me take up another instrument instead, and fortunately the teacher for that instrument had a very different approach, and I've been able to enjoy playing music ever since - as long as it's not piano. But I have trouble convincing myself to take lessons for any instrument these days, even though my brain knows it's highly unlikely that the teacher will start slapping me.

Rllink
09-24-2015, 05:47 AM
"It's curious how many of us had this devastating First Encounter with a piano teacher at a young age, which then, in one way or another, affected us in the decades that followed."

Back in my youth, it was OK for a piano teacher to hit a student, and anytime I hit a wrong note or otherwise failed at perfection, (grade school age), the teacher would slap me. Needless to say, I don't enjoy playing piano.

My tactic for getting out of piano lessons was to convince my parents to let me take up another instrument instead, and fortunately the teacher for that instrument had a very different approach, and I've been able to enjoy playing music ever since - as long as it's not piano. But I have trouble convincing myself to take lessons for any instrument these days, even though my brain knows it's highly unlikely that the teacher will start slapping me.For me, it was not piano lessons, but I started to play the trumpet in fifth grade, and lasted maybe three months. I blame it on the teacher, but it is always easy to blame it on someone else. But the thing is, I've never felt like a failure because I quit band. I think that is one thing in the article that I noticed, that Dr. Osherson was scarred for life by that experience. And that is what I was referring to in my earlier post.

Steedy
09-24-2015, 09:02 AM
Fear, shame, and the ukulele, eh?

I can relate, since I suffer from all three! :)

Mivo
09-24-2015, 09:18 AM
Fear, shame, and the ukulele, eh? I can relate, since I suffer from all three! :)

:D

I was admittedly struggling for a subject line, because the article's own headline was so long. I'm still trying to figure out why typing "Fear, Shame, and the Ukulele" triggered a memory of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" that I read many, many years ago and had not thought of in a long time! The brain is a weird thing.

Steedy
09-24-2015, 11:10 AM
Hey I like it, very creative! :cool: (<-- Hunter S. Thompson emoji)

spongeuke
09-24-2015, 11:58 AM
Took up the ukulele late in life but before Jake. I liked it because of the low expectations associated with it.
It worked I was amazed that some form of music actually came out of my manipulations. Now I know better.
The deal is it keeps changing. First was chord shapes and a cramped left hand, bar chord and even more cramping, then the right hand got involved and now it is back to simple songs, left hand operating on muscle memory and right hand getting emotional. Oh, and I rediscovered my Parent's music and my singing voice.
Public appearances happen. I was told if you make a mistake, repeat it and make the song your own.

Hippie Dribble
09-24-2015, 01:20 PM
"It's curious how many of us had this devastating First Encounter with a piano teacher at a young age, which then, in one way or another, affected us in the decades that followed."

Mine was with a choir mistress in 6th grade. I so badly wanted to join the school choir.

I got laughed out of the audition by other students and the teacher herself. Yep, no shit.

It's given me a lifelong shame of my voice and I still am battling with it in my mid forties.

Hippie Dribble
09-24-2015, 01:21 PM
I was told if you make a mistake, repeat it and make the song your own.
Awesome advice. This is my creed too!

janeray1940
09-24-2015, 01:39 PM
"It's curious how many of us had this devastating First Encounter with a piano teacher at a young age, which then, in one way or another, affected us in the decades that followed."


I had a few - the elderly piano teacher who insisted I learn from really dumbed-down kids' books (complete with gold star stickers when I learned a piece, which was almost never) and never paid any heed to what I actually wanted to learn; the guitar instructor in public junior high who found my first name too difficult to pronounce so he always addressed me by my surname; the voice instructor who refused to let me work on Beatles songs or jazz and insisted I do things like Marie Osmond songs... fortunately that last one was followed by three top-notch voice instructors (David Kyle, rest in peace; Mara Scott-Wood, wonder whatever happened to her; Seth Riggs, who changed my life) so I never lost interest in music. But I did remain convinced until my mid-40s that I was unteachable when it comes to actually playing an instrument. But to be fair, I'm not sure how much of the blame is to be placed on the teachers, exactly - I now know I learn in weird non-standard ways, and standard curricula usually is the worst approach for me to take.

CeeJay
09-24-2015, 02:55 PM
Teachers. Hmmmmm. I have read and heard it said the teacher
can be a man among children, but a child among men.

flailingfingers
09-24-2015, 04:04 PM
Wonderful article. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. We had a local "talent night" here in this small town recently. I did nor perform but rather was a judge.....I should have performed. Would have been easier. But to the point: it was evident from the beginning that the audience was rooting for every performer. There was a common human bond there. A wonderful evening.