Learning Something New

This post is part one of a two-part series on this topic.

“All work and no play can make Dave a dull boy,” Said Dave.

About a year ago I had been reading about the importance of creating a balance between one’s work life and one’s personal life. That’s when I realized I needed a hobby that was completely unrelated to my work as an elementary school principal. 

Working hard is good; it is a virtue that is instilled in us from an early age.  But, these days, with the incredible 24/7 access we have to our work worlds, we easily can get accustomed to sitting in front of a computer, on our tablets, and on our phones emailing, Voxing, texting, Tweeting, and blogging.  

If we are not careful, work can become so all-encompassing, that we can lose touch with other important aspects of our lives.

So, after about five months of contemplating different recreational activities, it struck me that I should consider learning to play an instrument. I had played the trumpet growing up, so how hard could it be to learn a new instrument?  After another two months of contemplating what instrument I should pick up, I finally settled on the bass guitar.  

Why the bass?  Well, there were a few reasons.  First, it was completely different than the trumpet (that ship had sailed long ago), nobody else that I know plays the bass (whereas lots of people I know play the 6-string guitar), the bass has a really cool sound to my ear, and, of course it’s the instrument of my favorite rock musician Geddy Lee, of the band Rush (that’s an obsession story for another day).  

In March, after a trip to Sam Ash, I came home with my new Fender Jazz Bass, an amp, and all the accessories necessary to become the next great rock bassist. This was going to be amazing; I was so excited to start my new adventure!  

Except for one minor detail – Learning to play an instrument is REALLY HARD – Way harder than I had expected.

Well, at school we talk about the growth mindset and showing grit, so this was my opportunity to see if I had the grit and fortitude to stick with something very difficult.  I committed to taking weekly lessons and practicing at least 30 minutes per day. I got this, right?

I am happy to report that since March, 2017, playing my bass is what I have been doing in my free time. I can tell you that this experience has been both fun and frustrating, and I also can tell you that learning something completely brand new as an adult has been an eye-opening experience. I think this is especially true as an educator who has entered the world of the neophytes.  

In part two of this series of posts, I will try to explain why this has been such an eye-opening experience and why I now have a different perspective on what children might be experiencing when they are learning something new.


Ain’t she a beauty?!