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Official DP Skill Acquisition Thread

This is a spur from the Piano thread. This should be a new thread, because we started something new.

The Piano thread was the idea generation phase. We read an article and some of us got the idea that we could actually do it.

Thank God for women!

Anyone who would like to pick up a new skill is welcome here. Tell us what skill you want to acquire, and we'll go learning our respective skills in a systematic manner, as described in the Piano thread. while encouraging and helping one another achieve their goals.

If anyone would like to start a spur thread on a specific skill, that would be welcome also. Say someone here is going to do guitar, and they want to have their own "Learning Guitar" thread.

As for me, I'll be taking up the craft of writing. I do a lot of writing every day, but to say that I'm sloppy with my craft would be generous. I would like to put my attention there.

All Comers Welcome! See you down below.

- - -

Update: Ten Principles of Rapid Skill Acquisition, from the book The First 20 Hours

1. Choose a lovable project (one that you love!)
2. Focus your energy on one skill at a time.
3. Define your target performance level.
4. Deconstruct the skill into subskills.
5. Obtain critical tools
6. Eliminate barriers to practice
7. Make dedicated time for practice
8. Create fast feedback loops.
9. Practice by the clock in short bursts
10. Emphasize quantity and speed.

Watch the video on the Piano thread for more, or take a look at the book.



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I love this concept!

I'm more of a go-it-alone type but dig that there are people working together to help eachother in acquiring new skills!

I got on this kick of learning "practical" skills two or three years ago and I've learned all kinds of cool things.

Things I've learned which I'd be happy to help others learn include:

butchering
curing meats - sausages as well as whole cuts
smoking meats
basic vegetable gardening - I'm probably lower on the ladder in terms of knowledge on this subject compared to some of the great farmers on the DP, but happy to share what I do know.
canning
preserving
Brewing beer
distilling vinegar
distilling alcohol
electrical wiring
cooking/food prep - multiple cuisines & disciplines
small scale aquaponics
carpentry - another one where I'm no expert, but can help a novice.
small engine repair
metal-working

non-practical skills:
audio recording/editing/mastering
guerrilla/non-traditional marketing
story-line construction
social media

At their inceptions, the #Liberty, #OccupyWallStreet and #TeaParty movements all had the same basic goal... What happened?

I'm starting to hit threshold with Spanish.

Thinking in terms of another thing is delightful...

Defeat the panda-industrial complex

I am dusk icon. anagram me.

jrd3820's picture

Ha

Take a couple days off. Then it gets better again. Really.

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss

Learning German

This looks interesting. I'll report back later.
http://www.dw.de/learn-german/s-2469

Free includes debt-free!

Anyone here have any tricks to b-minor on acoustic?

I've been playing for like six years but still can't play the b-minor chord worth a damn. I've spent countless hours on youtube, etc to no avail. Not sure if it's the size of the guitar/size of my hands, etc.

I can play about anything that does not have a b chord in it.

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Peace, Freedom and Prosperity. Not War, Welfare and Bankruptcy.

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Some Ideas

A guitar teacher once gave me a barre chord trick. You can angle your pointer finger (the one you're using to barre the chord) in such a way where you're using the part that's more bone than flesh (basically the side part of your forefinger) can be used to fret the strings.

Another idea would be to individually strengthen fingers and see if that helps your fretting ability. You might be surprised at this but working on your right-hand technique can actually strengthen your left hand.

You can try this (excellent) string-skipping exercise here. I encourage you to learn to play it 3 ways: all upstrokes, all down-strokes and alternate picking.

http://youtu.be/trHYmmltdKg?t=2m2s

Along the same vein (right hand exercises help left hand finger strength), here's a good exercise on sweep picking. In order to get a clean tone while moving these chord shapes up and down the neck (as he describes at the 3:10 mark), you're really going to need independence between your left and right hand. A lot of players don't realize how much they "cheat" by using the right hand to put counter-balance pressure on the guitar when fretting certain shapes. Definitely work up to being able to play that exercise at 3:10.

http://youtu.be/T2nUnvbhdBw?t=2m14s

Another thing you could do is to practice legato (e.g. hammer-ons and pull-offs) as described in this exercise:

http://youtu.be/fIeYIM0q3_4?t=1m24s

Best of luck and let me know if you have any success w/ this approach.

Michael Nystrom's picture

Learned to tune the guitar

Learned the chords, and have been practicing the chords. Short bursts throughout the day.

That's where I'm at. It is fun.

He's the man.
Michael Nystrom's picture

Building up callouses on my fingers

.

He's the man.

Just keep pressing your left thumb nailagainst your left fingers

throughout the day - also on the 'insides' if our middleo or first finger for bar chords - a little blood won't hurt - there! Calluses!

Defeat the panda-industrial complex

I am dusk icon. anagram me.

jrd3820's picture

Considering getting glasses

for my eyes because of staring at computer screens for hours and hours on end. It's killing my eyes. And my fingers hurt from all the typing. No pain, no gain.

Sweet Jane is one of my favorite songs. Of all the songs in all the world Sweet Jane is one of my favorites.

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss

Michael Nystrom's picture

My sweet sweet jane

Kiddo, don't stare at the computer for that long. You gotta get up and move around.

This is another part of what I'm talking about in terms of the computers / machines taking over.

Nearly all of us "knowledge workers" spend all day staring at a screen manipulating data. Samantha does it all day with experiment data. I do it all day here at the DP and with other projects. It makes sense that eventually we'll just want to climb inside the damn things. Again, not that I advocate that - don't get me wrong. I'm just keeping an eye on it. I think I'll probably check out before I climb inside. I don't want to live forever, and certainly not inside a computer.

The part that killed my eyes was the fluorescent lights + computer screen. That's part of why little Mikey Nystrom had to quit his job as a broker after returning from Portugal. I got tremendous headaches. My doctor recommended special glasses, but I quit before then. You should look into them.

But kill the fluorescents somehow. Natural light is best. And take breaks for God's sake!

I don't know what to say about the fingers. The fingers? Or the wrists? Watch out for those, too.

Boy, you must be working on something big! Can't wait to see it.

Hey! Look what I found. This is perfect for skill acquisition. I made a whole new thread about it: Coursera.com

There is even a course on playing guitar! I signed up for it. This is from the Berklee College of Music, right downtown in Boston.


http://youtu.be/iUxpwYUlWDc

You should see if there are any you're interested in. It is the wave of the future:
https://www.coursera.org/courses

He's the man.
jrd3820's picture

I'm afraid it's probably not very big

For some people, but it's big for me. The biggest part is the writing and getting it organized. But I am learning a thing or 2 about things that used to seem so foreign to me. It's not as scary to me anymore.....
Well, some of it at least. Some of it still seems so confusing.

Get up and move around? You're not the only one that takes daily walks. I take 2 or 3. Even in the winter. I love putting on tons of layers and just walking aimlessly. Also Jillian Michaels kicks my ass once or twice a day most days. Exercise is great for the brain especially when learning new things, have you noticed that with your nordic trac? I noticed that in college. Exercise and really healthy food with blueberry toast and or poptarts from time to time, it's great for the brain. I do most of the computer staring when I am supposed to be in class anyways or when normal people sleep. I forfeit sleep in life.

Fingers and wrists are starting to hurt. My friend was telling me about some microphone thing where I can talk into it and it writes for me in word....I might need that.

Coursera... that looks really cool, I am going to go check that out.

I was watching that clip you played in the Snowden thread (hey look guys it's Neo!). I was thinking....if the agents ever got you they would be all 'You have a respectable job, you pay your taxes, and.....you help little old ladies carry their eggs' lol

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss

Michael Nystrom's picture

Ok, good.

Here's the speech recognition software (you can thank Mr. Kurzweil for that), from Dragon:


http://youtu.be/FbffVqWIKqw

$50 - 100 bucks, apparently. I don't know how well it works.

But it comes built in with the newer Macs. Did you know that? I only discovered that well after I had mine.

He's the man.
Michael Nystrom's picture

I'm typing this by speaking

Hey it works pretty good on this machine. pretty cool. I have a MacBook, thank you for reminding me about this. I will try actually putting this to use

He's the man.
Michael Nystrom's picture

Update: Ten Principles of Rapid Skill Acquisition

Update: Ten Principles of Rapid Skill Acquisition, from the book The First 20 Hours

1. Choose a lovable project (one that you love!)
2. Focus your energy on one skill at a time.
3. Define your target performance level.
4. Deconstruct the skill into subskills.
5. Obtain critical tools
6. Eliminate barriers to practice
7. Make dedicated time for practice
8. Create fast feedback loops.
9. Practice by the clock in short bursts
10. Emphasize quantity and speed.

Watch the video on the Piano thread for more, or take a look at the book.

He's the man.

thanks for the itemized list

I love lists :)

“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.” — Albert Camus

A helpful companion - Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

http://www.amazon.com/Flow-Psychology-Experience-Mihaly-Csik...

"Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's famous investigations of "optimal experience" have revealed that what makes an experience genuinely satisfying is a state of consciousness called flow. During flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life."...

Did I read it? No! I listened to the audiobook.

Defeat the panda-industrial complex

I am dusk icon. anagram me.

Thanks, I needed the

Thanks, I needed the structure. My brains all over the map.

Have you done step 4 yet?

You were planning on writing, correct?

Michael Nystrom's picture

No, not yet.

And I changed my mind.

I'm going to learn to play targeted guitar. This song: Bob Dylan's, When I Paint My Masterpiece.

I love this song. I belt it out without accompaniment. I'd like to learn to give it some accompaniment. Dylan does it on the piano, but I found this guy who does it on the guitar. He doesn't do it like Dylan, but if I could get to his level in 20 hours, I would be ecstatic.


http://youtu.be/OtbRqgKMMrI

And I'm going to use this to propel me forward into the writing. I want the energy and the message of this song to infuse my writing.

The choice phase takes some consideration. I felt a little guilty because I'm impatient to get to my writing. But at the same time, like the Oracle tells Neo, "You're waiting for something." That is true, too.

So the only natural thing to do is to follow the Law.

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

He's the man.
jrd3820's picture

I hope you debut in the DP jam session

I have told you about the DP top 20 from that thread and how this song made number 3 which is incredible because it was played in October and was going up against songs from Feb and March. Songs I loved from people I loved and this one entered the scene and blew past the competition. The top 20 is dominated by 2 people. I'm making it pretty and I'm making your sound pretty and I'm making something pretty for Samantha and will be sending it soon....

Yes, this is a great goal and like I said, I hope you consider debuting in my humble little thread.

I am going for the blog thing still, but I have to learn a few other things about some lingo that doesn't quite make sense to me before I jump in.

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss

Do you sing any?

...

Michael Nystrom's picture

In the shower,

while cooking, while goofing around with Samantha, walking down the street when no one's around, etc. I can really belt this one out. Parts of it, at least.

That's the kind of singing I do.

I realize I might become a one-hit-wonder with this song. I'll be able to play this, and nothing else. But at least I'll have one thing.

I had planned to learn guitar last fall. I went out and bought a nice guitar and just about a week or so after I got it, we got word of Samantha's sister being sick in Taiwan, and so we shifted into a whole different mode. We were finishing up a freelance consulting project here in Boston, and then everything was mobilized towards preparing and packing to spend 2+ months abroad.

The guitar stayed behind and gathered dust.

We've been back now for almost a month, and I finally feel re settled. There was a whole unwinding process from that as well. And then I noticed that guitar just keeps staring at me.

I figure that once I get the basics down, it'll be easier to pick up other songs. There are only 3 or 4 chords to learn:

http://dylanchords.info/99_greatesthits2/when_i_paint_my_mas...

I write every day. Probably what I need to do in terms of rapid skill acquisition towards writing is more about editing. To that end, I need a concise project, like learning a song.

Maybe I should aim to write an article and get it published in a real magazine. I'll think about while I'm learning to paint my masterpiece

He's the man.

Sounds like you've been keeping busy

I have family that can play pretty much anything with strings. One uncle still plays bluegrass on the side.

I never learned to play. I got a guitar as a gift a few years back. It looks pretty on its stand. One of these days though...

I've never really considered writing an article for a magazine - likely because I've never read many of them.

If you had to choose three, which magazines would you most like to publish in (or think your writing would be most suitable for)?

Michael Nystrom's picture

At the top of my list would be Wired

I probably have a greater interest in technology and where it is headed than in orthodox "Liberty" ideology.

I'm a little more interested in 'Applied Liberty,' i.e., how we as individuals can live as free a life as possible in the face of constraints and what Harry Browne called "An Unfree World."

Beyond Wired, I haven't put too much thought into it. I know that is aiming pretty high right off the bat for an unpublished writer, but possible with the right angle.

Are you working on a book, too?

He's the man.

Great idea. This year, I

Great idea.

This year, I started with Khan Academy. I'm not quite going with the piano guy's program as mine is more long term. It's been on my lifelist for more than a decade to pass a calculus class. Since my son will be doing calc in 2 years, I figured I'd start trying to remember all the math I've forgotten so that I can take the class with him and meet my goal.

I also started studying Spanish on Duolingo. I've studied some German, French and Greek. Figured it would be handy to know some Spanish . Also son will be studying next year, so a nice synergism.

Picked up a logic textbook a few months ago, but am still in chapter one.

Been playing violin a lot the last couple of years. Picked up an electric violin at a pawn shop last fall and got a new amp for Christmas so I'd like to learn to play beyond fiddle music and Copland stuff to take advantage of the verity of backup the distorted violin can do. Currently working on some spy-James Bond music that has potential but is beyond my skill set at present.

Been progressively learning to garden better and process/store foods better. This one I like to keep more "off the books." I experiment and ask experts who come my way but try not to formally research.

What kind of writing Michael?

I get the impression that you're going to try to become a serious writer (e.g. writing a novel) but I could absolutely be wrong about that.

I've done some comedy writing in the past (not professionally).

I'm with you

on the writting..though I think I'm going to need professional help.

I like this idea..

what I do is HVAC/R.