From a wide view, there is never a moment where the above four zones are not actively involved in creating our experience. All of our practice can be ‘located’ in one of these 4 domains. They are also interconnected which means that actions in one will affect the others. When we change a part, it changes the whole.
For practice, we can zoom in on any aspect of any zone to improve that particular area. We can also use this map to locate our weak spots rather quickly.
For any activity, we can consider what is happening in all four. Consider the relationships between the zones. They are correlated.
By understanding these vital dimensions, we can more effectively communicate with folks. We can place statements that are made, understand how those statements relate to other statements, & experience dynamic exchanges. One of our objectives is to find musicians that share our common values and content, within these domains.
A balanced approach, at the very least, includes our awareness of where our strengths & weaknesses live. Being informed is a solid approach.
We tend to live in technics, but all of the zones obviously matter. Keep in mind, again, that when any zone is updated, the changes cascade through the entire system. “Change a part, change the whole”. And notice that tone lives in each zone. That must mean that it is important.
In most of our worlds, time is limited. We have to make the most of the time that we allot for making music. To get the most out of it, we are suggesting that each zone is given some focus. We check-in within each, whether moment to moment, hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, etc. The lists [in the boxes] are by no means exhaustive, yet they do cover a lot of ground. One of the main purposes of checking-in is to build better practice circuits, & another, to get to non-reference modes of playing [the ‘jam zone’ – what I will sometimes call the ‘tonal groove’].
Let’s explore each a bit further…
Techniques are the physical means we use to make music on an instrument.
Taking action in this area is immense. It is truly endless. Information lives in every version of every known guitar learning system on the planet. It is working our hands to get results. And, the how of what we do matters as well. Variety in our practice is a key to continual technical improvement. We get to know our hands and how to get them to respond to our musical intentions.
A couple of core ideas are to not train mistakes, and to use a variety of views of the same motion or synchronization. These views can include thinking on specific joints, or our posture, pads or pick/nails, comfort level, etc.
Only we know the scope and depth of what we know. And, we typically want to express it; continually deepen & renew it.
We also hear what we hear. How we respond to that determines our fulfillment, though it may never be complete.
The understanding space also includes theoretical & musical knowledge, language, notation, ideas, concepts, symbols, semiotics, etc.
Balancing thoughts & feelings & desire & expectations can be challenging. The basic action for this domain is “How/What am I feeling/thinking?” [any combination]. Sometimes, we may not even seek an answer, we just keep asking the question/s.
On matters of music, we do want to deepen our playing confidence, openness to new ideas & knowledge, depth of humor, sense of musical space [feeling-tone], inner hearing [connection to musical self], understanding of what things are called [naming], & our overall experience. To do this, we experiment with an array of exemplars, tracking changes in our phenomenal space. This is an unending & enthralling process of discovery.
We are continually deepening our understanding across all areas of study.
Interactions matter. As with all things human, we live in a world of agreements. Even just to get some practice in, we may have to let the family know that it is guitar time and no invasions.
If we jam with others, all kinds of agreements have to be established. If we step outside a perimeter, most likely others will take notice and/or action. Styles are based on agreements. Certain styles use certain types of harmonic structures; go outside & it is no longer that style! Even song forms are agreements.
And, many interactions are based on roles. We think it is important to understand and serve any role with complete genuineness, sincerity, & focus. We do our best to do our job well.
If we are or are becoming performers, the volume of agreements increases greatly. There are moments when even a Zen mind will be challenged as a performer.
Taking action here is to make & keep some agreements. Call a new or old friend for a jam, incorporate an idea from someone in the band, or be on time.
Technology is everywhere. The chairs we sit on are technology; as well, the buildings, transportation, electrical wiring, and the guitar gear we employ … on and on.
Most of us to some degree are gear-heads. Keeping our gear in working order is a badge of honor & humility. Dreaming about the next acquisition is a part of our daily or weekly mind time. Gear is so good. Having functioning equipment that produces sweet tone is as good as food. And, all of the tools we use, add to our overall experience; not too many, not too few!
Taking action here is spending time improving our tone, rearranging our practice space, acquiring a better metronome, changing our strings, & so on.