Learning/Practice Theory, why do results become harder to achieve over time?
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  1. #1
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    Default Learning/Practice Theory, why do results become harder to achieve over time?

    I'm sure most of you have heard this theory or even experienced it yourself: When you first start something, the learning is very rapid and very rewarding, but as time goes on it seems that learning and achievement takes longer and there are more gaps between rewarding moments.

    In theory, wouldn't you think the opposite should be true. Starting out should be very difficult and be the least rewarding, but as you acquire more knowledge and skills it should become easier to learn and discover new things (rewards). What do you guys think?

  2. #2

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    It all operates on multiple levels. The more DJ systems you know, the easier it is to grok the next one. But there are plateau levels operating at the same time, takes more effort to break up to a higher level. Or then you don't notice your progress.

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    Tech Guru synthet1c's Avatar
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    I think it's because of how you judge your own ability... At the start you know nothing so everything is impressive to yourself. As you learn more skills and sharpen your ears you can tell where you are going wrong, and usually your brain gets up to speed before your muscle memory can kick in.

    It may also have something to do with evolution as your brain feeds you more good chemicals to stimulate itself when you try something new, this powers curiosity and advancement in the beginning stages to give you motivation to continue.

    If you knew what you knw now when you started and judged yourself with the same harshness you would not be on here today asking the question, so give yourself a break... The best thing you can do now is enjoy yourself as your brain won't help you in that respect anymore, and the more you enjoy it the more you will do it and ultimately the more ideas you will have about it helping you to advance in your own mind, because there are no levels in this, you just do what sounds good and feels right, forget the tricks they will get you nowhere unless you are at the world DMC Standard...
    Why did the elephant get lost... Cause the Jungle is MASSIVE!

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    I do agree with this theory however, I've kinda come up with my own method of counteracting/offsetting the "plateau" effect. It's something I started doing, and still do, with guitar.

    1. Drills, drills, drills!
    most of anything music related is purely muscle memory. The more you do, the quicker, better faster you get at it. Now, in the realm of production, not too much to practice. BUT, DJ's or drum machines, keys, which ever it is, keep at it.

    2. 1 New Thing
    Even after 10 years, of playing guitar I still try my absolute hardest to learn ONE new thing every time I pick up my guitar. Whether it be a chord variation, new scale/mode, new song, picking technique, whatever! Learn 1 new thing, big or small...then guess what? Repeat step 1!!! This has proved an incredible asset with regards to learning my Maschine inside out, AND when I started using Cubase/Acid Pro, learning ONE thing of the software or hot-key really helps to keep the learning train rolling.

    3. Ten Rule
    If you have a routine/song whatever. If you can do it ten times in a row without mistakes you've got it mastered. Obviously you won't practice an 1hr routine, but you get the idea. If at any point in the consecutive 10 you mess up. Start over!!

    4. Play What You Like
    I had a piano instructor, who ripped hard on me for not practicing my 30mins a day. I was lucky enough to be able to sight read well and pick up quick, but hated practicing. Then he gave me the most useful tip I've ever got.

    start your practice session with what you like. If you have a simple routine, or song, or mash-up that you like...start with that. You'll be more inclined to explore, tamper discover and indirectly sharpen your skills and learn your setup/maschine.
    in the same vain, you want to finish your practice session with something you like. Walk away with a smile on your face. Again, you'll want to practice even more if it was a pleasurable experience. It's a good reward after beating up on yourself for 30min-1hr.

  5. #5
    Tech Mentor crakbot's Avatar
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    A lot of it could be ego as well.

    When you are first learning, you are open to everything. Once you start to think you are knowledgeable, you start filtering information you think doesn't fit into what you already believe.

    Look at a lot of the posts on the forums here by veteran DJ's. They think they already know everything, they think anything new is just a gimmick, any new music genre is garbage, new DJ's are only in it for the money, etc.

    BTW, this applies to every aspect life.

    What's the old saying? The first step to knowing everything is admitting you don't know anything.

  6. #6
    Tech Guru synthet1c's Avatar
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    I pretty much know everything

    but disagree with the comparison to learning a musical instrument... Once you have the muscle memory and co-ordination for beatmatching or if you are syncing all you need to do is play good music in a good order and listen so you can eq properly and drop the songs in the right place... easy.

    knowing the "good music" is the hardest part, but if you love music it shouldn't be too difficult, skills are for guys who can't impress with their selection.. a lot of the beatmatching argument stems from this. But beatmatching does get you in tune with the music more as you actually have to pay attention to what you are doing otherwise it will fall apart.
    Why did the elephant get lost... Cause the Jungle is MASSIVE!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BiggChev View Post
    I do agree with this theory however, I've kinda come up with my own method of counteracting/offsetting the "plateau" effect. It's something I started doing, and still do, with guitar.

    1. Drills, drills, drills!
    most of anything music related is purely muscle memory. The more you do, the quicker, better faster you get at it. Now, in the realm of production, not too much to practice. BUT, DJ's or drum machines, keys, which ever it is, keep at it.

    2. 1 New Thing
    Even after 10 years, of playing guitar I still try my absolute hardest to learn ONE new thing every time I pick up my guitar. Whether it be a chord variation, new scale/mode, new song, picking technique, whatever! Learn 1 new thing, big or small...then guess what? Repeat step 1!!! This has proved an incredible asset with regards to learning my Maschine inside out, AND when I started using Cubase/Acid Pro, learning ONE thing of the software or hot-key really helps to keep the learning train rolling.

    3. Ten Rule
    If you have a routine/song whatever. If you can do it ten times in a row without mistakes you've got it mastered. Obviously you won't practice an 1hr routine, but you get the idea. If at any point in the consecutive 10 you mess up. Start over!!

    4. Play What You Like
    I had a piano instructor, who ripped hard on me for not practicing my 30mins a day. I was lucky enough to be able to sight read well and pick up quick, but hated practicing. Then he gave me the most useful tip I've ever got.

    start your practice session with what you like. If you have a simple routine, or song, or mash-up that you like...start with that. You'll be more inclined to explore, tamper discover and indirectly sharpen your skills and learn your setup/maschine.
    in the same vain, you want to finish your practice session with something you like. Walk away with a smile on your face. Again, you'll want to practice even more if it was a pleasurable experience. It's a good reward after beating up on yourself for 30min-1hr.
    This is awesome! Very useful advice for anyone. For the record I didn't post this cause I was getting down on myself, it was just one of those "hmm this is interesting, wonder why it's like this" I think it helps to be aware of this theory though when you do hit plateaus and having methods, such as the useful tips posted here, to help you move past them. Also a good point by Synthet1c, starting out is so rewarding cause you know nothing. I think overtime you just naturally get more critical as you acquire more knowledge. People probably think if I know so much now why don't I sound better or scratch better etc.

  8. #8
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    You could also argue that this is another example for the application of the 80/20 rule, in this case meaning that the last 20% of mastering something require 80% of the work...


    You don't only see it in DJing, but also in other fields. Everybody can become "quite ok" in many things without putting too much effort into it, but if one wants to become really good or a professional, that's where the hard work starts.

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