Whenever I begin learning to play a new song on the guitar I find it easiest to start by learning section by section. Intro, verse, chorus, bridge, solo. Separately learning each guitar part if there are multiple to learn. Where this method falls down is when I try to combine this learning together to play the whole song through. I haven’t practiced the finger placement changes for my fretting hand, what my picking hand will be changing from, so I often flounder for a beat or two trying to flub my way through it. It is an obvious thing, to practice what moving from playing a verse to a chorus will feel like, or where my hand will move to when beginning the solo. Yet, I haven’t consciously thought that much about the process until recently, specifically that it might require as much practice as learning different chord shapes, coordinating hand movements, or developing feel rhythm while playing.
Transitioning smoothly between the different parts of any piece of music is the key to them being musically sound. Pun intended.
Recently I started to think about how we change and move through the different stages of our lives. Finishing at one job and starting another, buying or moving house, starting a new relationship, getting married, taking a book, film, play, song from one stage to the next. Idea, draft, development, final product. It is these transitions that guide how well we move through life.
There is one key difference between learning a song and many other life events: we know when the parts of a song will change, but we cannot be sure when some transitions in our lives will happen. We cannot know when for certain when our car will break down. Predicting how well a new job fits us before we begin working at it is not an exact science. We cannot find out everything about a new house before we move in.
The way we manage this is by preparing as best we can.
When we buy a new product we ask friends and family for their opinions. We check reviews from trusted experts about what we are purchasing. We try out a car before we pay the money for it. We walk around a house and have a property check carried out before we move in. With jobs we have a series of interviews to work out if we fit them and they fit us.
For me, one thing I have to prepare for is managing days when my depression more strongly tries to take hold of my life. This means knowing the things that will help and having plans in place to enact these which require little mental effort. It also means having answers prepared for questions I am often asked such as “Is there anything I can do to help?” or “Do you need anything?” Two things I know about myself are I have a fast metabolism so need to eat complete meals regularly, and if I get less than six hours sleep for three days or more there’s a high chance I will need to sleep for a long time to have my mind reset itself. When my life is going through a transition phase there is a higher likelihood of one of these two things happening. So, asking others to ensure I am managing these two things as best I can is a good starting point. The biggest proactive thing I can do to help manage any transition is to pray to God for direction and the courage to change something if I need to.
Every time your life enters a transition phase take note of the things you learn. Remember this knowledge to make subsequent transitions more manageable and give you wisdom to pass on to others.
Do you have any potentially difficult to navigate transitions coming up in your life? What are your plans to help ease you through it?
Be good, keep good, and sleep good dear reader. Peace.