The Means-Whereby Principle. Part 2

Deconstructing a Song

How to Apply the Means-Whereby Principle to a Skilled Activity

In the previous post, we said that "to make real progress in approaching a skilled activity ... involves a long-term process that begins with taking time to give directions and restore the primary control, and then layering on elements of the song."


At the same time, this process must not be entirely open-ended. Simply working on yourself and then vaguely seeing if you can sing while continuing to focus on yourself will not work, because there is no clear goal and no clear means to the goal. To approach the process in a constructive way, we must have a clear goal, so that we are framing the means-whereby process in the context of this goal and challenge ourselves to approach the goal in a new way. In the following exercises, we're going to look at how to perform a song, while accompanying yourself on guitar, by approaching the goal in a step-wise process based on attention to yourself.


Choose your Goal and Consider What Steps You Will Take


To begin with, choose a song you want to learn. Then think through some of the steps you would like to take in approaching the song, which may include:


a. working on yourself

b. placing yourself in a position of mechanical advantage and giving your directions

c. learning the guitar part trying out some of the simplest elements of the song

d. paying attention to yourself while singing the melody


In this way, you will put the different elements together (learning the lyrics, learning the guitar part, producing sound effortlessly, singing the lyrics, and putting all the elements together) while paying attention to yourself as the foundation for the whole process.

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