05
MAR
2018

Learning Guitar, Memory, Barriers, physics and such ..

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Learning guitar—a mission.
 
I am a child of the 60’s. There is a reason so many of us attempted to learn to play the guitar.  It is cool, portable, relatively affordable and there were many great new sounds and songs that went with that time.
 
Unfortunately, many of those guitars quickly gathered dust and went into closets, to surface years later in garage sales.  Why?
 
Well, we got busy. It hurt our fingers, the strings got old and out of tune, and when we sat down to jam with someone else, that tuning thing got old.
 
There are hundreds of excuses, but 45 years later, I have news for you about learning, memory, and a new hope to get the music going again.
 
First, we have new tools for learning. The internet provides a wealth of free information and links to lessons, A to Z chords gets us started on songs we know, and the neuro-physiology of learning has some hints for us.
 
Short term memory is electrical.  Until something, some thought, some action is repeated, it is fragile and can be lost to the sands of time. So practice a couple of times a week, remove distractions, and limit alcohol use to after the music so you can learn clearly.
 
Second, make notes of things you learn.  This forces more of your brain to engage, and helps with retention.  If your writing is bad, record verbal notes on a tape recorder.
 
You can’t make progress by sitting still. Get up and take a brief walk, even just around the house, to clear the brain and get ready to make some Muscle Memory in the brain stem.
 
Muscle memory is what athletes get from practice.  Your neurons adapt to repeated actions to facilitate them until the higher brain functions hardly need to bother with them and can get to “thinking ahead”   Eventually you grow new connections called dendrites with make the thoughts and movements more fluid and foolproof.
 
In chemistry, many reactions require what is called activation energy.  A little caffeine and a small amount of carbs before playing leaves a little help for the brain to engage.
 
The YOUROCKGUITAR also provides for a jam partner, a recorder, and conquers the finger pain and tuning issues for you.  Did you know that Joni Mitchell had polio as a child?  That is why she made up new chords, she had a weak hand.  The YRG makes chords easy, and also includes alternate tunings.
 
Finally, the YRG allows what you learn there to translate better to playing a “regular” guitar than electronic guitars with touch screens or buttons.  Part of muscle memory.
 
The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that for every event there is likely to be more disorder after it than before it.  In other words, if your life is simply surviving, your mind and thoughts and talents will decay.   Take action now—–get playing. Get a life. Write a song.  Make a video of yourself and work at it.  In a month you’ll be amazed if you just invest 45 minutes 4 times a week.
 
I have done extensive work in music therapy as well as being a Physician and an Oncologist.  Music affects your brain positively in many ways. Rock your own world.  Best fortune.
 
Bruce
 
 
~ About Dr. Bruce Cross
Leading Radiation Oncologist
Graduated Cum Laude from the University of Missouri, Columbia School of Medicine. His works have been published in the Nuclear Science Applications and the Radiation Oncology Center Scientific Report.
Dr. Cross has also achieved undergraduate degrees in Engineering and graduated Cum Laude in Electrical Engineering.

 

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