When Banerjee wanted to play Hotel California lead, his teacher did show him the chord sequence and how to play.
The teacher is a kind man, agrees to the needs of the student, but…
… it has been 3 months now and Banerjee is still struggling with the shift from the Eminor chord to the F# major (or F# 7th – either way, the Both chord of the root chord Bm before perfect cadence) and the teacher had told him he had to practice and that is all it could be done.
We made a small fingering change to the E minor, which made him able to play it immediately. WIll tell you what it is, but the point is the overall understanding of what the aim of the student is, the learning objective is, the reality of music performance and learning is.
In real life, I find musicians who play shows and when recording the same solo, they make mistakes and when the mistakes are too many, they go back and come the next day and play almost perfectly.
In my opinion and approach, the single correct take is enough and then we move on to apply our skill to a new situation, learning and adapting to it.
Two concepts from the above could be of importance to us:
- is the goal of learning and practice to be able to perfect the path or learn to Adapt and create to make the final sound as best and effortless and fast and efficient as possible?
- adaptation is not just about changing the playing method based on our skill, but from the teacher’s side, to know the skill level of the student, assess what is important (one single method practised to frustration vs achieving early wins as early and sure as possible) and be able to adapt the learning material or practice content to not only get the final performance but also to use as a way to reach how there are different options, how one can compare and choose one for the other, and in general what maybe expected of a musician in real life + acknowledging what is actually satisfying for the student and motivating in the long term.
The change we made to the E minor Chords was simple: instead of using any other finger in the usual E minor pattern, use the Ring and Little fingers on the 5th and 4th strings, so that the difficult part of rearranging and forming the next F major was reduced highly.
Now the middle finger is free while playing the Eminor chord, which allows to prepare the finger over the 3rd string for the 3rd fret pressing for the F#major chord, while the 4th and 5th strings of the new chord is simply played by moving the ring and little from Eminor chord, as a unit, without rearranging, almost sliding over the strings.
Consistently this improves the playability for someone struggling with Barre chords, while giving that aha and achievement much needed in the beginning stages + the implied understanding of how one can and needs to adapt to get the final sound and not keep on fretting on a particular preassumed method + being able to play somehow by adapting is better than not being able to play while sticking to rules which are not there + knowing that practice is not just about doing the same thing over and over again.
overall a little bit more aware and adaptive and creative and looking for the final result.
over time, Banerjee was able to use different finger patterns to play the same chords as he found suitable.
Dr.Benjamin Bloom’s research on the early teachers of professional athletes, musicians, and others showed the ordinary but igniting nature of the early teachers. Dr.Bloom ‘s taxonomy of learning objectives lists adaptation, origination etc as stages of learning and teaching – adapting material for the students level, creating unique curriculum etc. Free resources at musicianself.com/rlo