Durning the past two weeks of in depth, some new challenges have arisen. Both I and my mentor were sick, and were therefore unable to meet in person. We had a 2 hour video conference, but it wasn’t the same as meeting in person. We have rescheduled a meeting for Saturday, just two days after the originally planned meeting. I have, however, found that the further I go into this project, the less help I need from my mentor. Throughout our first few meetings, he taught me. But as we progressed, and I slowly gained more experience with guitar, the meeting became more of me showing him what I had learned since our last meeting and him giving me feedback. In a sense, we got lucky when we got sick. We were both sick at the same time, which required us to only cancel one meeting instead of two. And we are far enough along in the project that my learning is mostly self taught, so delaying the meeting by a few days doesn’t disrupt my learning. However, video chat was definitely not the preferred way to meet up, as it was much harder to understand exactly what was being taught. Below, I have answered the questions for this blog post.
1. What has been the most difficult mentoring challenge so far? Why?
The most difficult challenge so far has been not being able to meet up with my mentor on two separate occasions (first, he wasn’t available the week following winter break, second, we were both sick the past meeting and it was pushed back). Instead, we had to meet primarily over video chat on one occasion. This answer is pretty self explanatory, but I’ll explain it anyways. Guitar is a very hands on skill. Without being able to meet face to face with my mentor, he wasn’t able to show me in person how to correct my mistakes. Instead, he had to show me on a slightly delayed computer screen in his dimly lit living room for two hours. I am sure that I would have been able to better correct my mistakes if my mentor had been there with me in person, which is why I am so looking forward to meeting with him on Saturday.
2. What is working well? Why?
Something that I believe has been going well since day one is our communication skills. My mentor and I communicate very well, and he is able to easily explain concepts to me without having to fear that I won’t understand. My mentor is extremely patient, cooperative, and open minded, which contributes greatly to the effectiveness of our communication. I have been working on my focus and patience since the last blog post, and I believe that this has significantly improved our communication skills.
3. What could be working better? How could you make sure this happens?
During our meetings, we tend to sometimes become a little sidetracked with all of the amazing learning opportunities the guitar provides for us, and we sometimes stray from the main goal of the meeting. This has caused us to, overtime, become slightly behind schedule. Not enough for any significant changes to be made, but it is noticeable. To help fix this problem, I am making sure to practice much more at home so that I am fully prepared for our meetings. I have also started a list of questions that I write down during my own practices that I email to my mentor the day before our meeting. This way, less questions come up during the meeting, which has helped us cut down on how much time we spend unfocused. During our last meeting (over Skype), my mentor and I determined that the best possible way to stay on track and to not spend too much time perfecting one little thing would be to limit our practice time to 3 minutes per bar of music, 1 minute if I have learned it previously. Although we haven’t tested this strategy, I am confident that it will help us to decrease the amount of time spent perfecting the unimportant details.
All in all, I am in complete shock when I realize how much I have learned over the course of in depth. I went from being able to play one chord (if my memory served me) to being able to play entire pages of music in just a few months. And in-depth isn’t even half over! I can’t wait to see what the final product will be, and I am extremely excited for all of the many experiences I will be able to share with my mentor throughout the remainder of this project.