Essential Secrets 55: Understand the Learning Curve
Understand the Learning Curve
It's Normal Not to See Constant Improvement
You may find it difficult to believe that you’ve forgotten how to play something that was completely playable just a couple days ago. Not seeing day-to-day progress can be frustrating.
This frustration comes from misunderstanding the learning curve. Bass players expect the learning curve to work like this: Once a section of a song is learned, it will only get better, easier, and faster. Every day will be an improvement on the day before, and progress will always move in a positive direction.
Unfortunately, here’s how the learning curve actually works: You learn some music. But, when you return to this same music another day, you might have to figure it all out again. You don’t make any progress at all for days on end. Then, one day you have a breakthrough, and you can play it twice as fast. The day after that, your tempo drops a bit.
This constant rise and fall in your progress is completely normal. Even if you’re seeing no change in your abilities for many days in a row, you are getting better. Stay with the program because you will have another breakthrough. Then what will happen? You will slip back from that plateau and your learning may be flat again. This will continue over and over, day by day, year after year.
Human beings do not make constant progress. The nature of the learning curve is one of the primary reasons you need to practice the bass every day. You’ll never see the next breakthrough in your playing if you’re only practicing once a week.
The learning curve is a lot like a roller coaster. It’s a crazy ride with many ups and downs. As long as you know and expect this, you can stay calm during the times you don’t feel you’re getting any better. The improvement is coming! Just keep working.
Books by David Motto:
THE TEN MINUTE
FOR ELECTRIC BASS
COMPLETE 3-VOL. SET