I used to work as a waterski coach. I coached all levels of skiers, from absolute beginners to competitive tournament skiers. Guess who tended to learn and improve faster?
The beginners, of course.
Beginners tend to have fewer bad habits to undo. Beginners know they don’t know much. Beginners listen and try new things.
Experts have been doing things the same way for a long time, right or wrong. They have habits – some good, some bad. Experts know they know something, and sometimes they are protective of what they have learned. Sometimes, advice that doesn’t fit their schema of knowledge is rejected or ignored.
I am working with one great beginning singer right now. By “great” I don’t mean she has extreme natural talent – she does not. And by “beginning” I don’t just mean untrained – I mean that she really hasn’t done much singing AT ALL, even just for fun. The great thing is that she is already doing a lot of things right, because she is not “trying” to sing. She is just singing. She’s great because when I tell her to do something, she simply does it! She doesn’t have bad habits to overcome, and she doesn’t have an emotional investment to protect.
What kind of learner are you? Can you keep a beginner’s approach to learning, even if you are no longer a beginner? Can you risk giving up the habits you’ve developed, if someone tells you they don’t serve your best long-term growth?
(c) 2010 Adrienne Osborn