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Queen Guitar Rhapsodies

Guitar Playing Is A Cycle In The Shape Of An S

What the Sigmoid Curve Can Teach the Humble Plucker and how a mathematical formula can be used as a model for success

Let's say you spend a year or eighteen months practising /with great dedication but by the end don't have much to show for it. Now let us assume that in the following year the improvements really begin to happen in such a way that makes you think that all the work you put into your playing was really worthwhile. This would probably encourage you to follow the same path in your third or fourth year, and to keep to your proven procedure for self-improvement. It would make sense, right?

Wrong! That is, according to the Sigmoid Curve which is based on a mathematical formula that has been applied to many areas, notably as a "very good model for understanding business cycles."

This is how the Sigmoid Curve is described:

"Change is Inevitable...…in life and in business. Sustainable momentum in both comes from knowing when to make the jump to the next curve before the one you're on begins to plateau. As frightening as it sounds, you need to give up a good thing while it's still working in order to position yourself for future success."

Graph of the Sigmoid Curve

Can this be applied to guitar playing?

Imagine the Curve as an S leaning forward to the right. The Learning Phase is the first side of the S pointing downwards - all hard work and not a lot to show for it (just like the first eighteen months of practice). The Growth Phase is the second curve of the S when it climbs upwards. This is when you begin to see results (just like guitar playing after eighteen months).

So far, so good, but what about the third curve of the S? Here it falls away steeply and gets difficult. It represents the decline that tends to set in, according to the Sigmoid Curve. The consequence is that the business "will slowly die." Yes, but that may be relevant to business but surely learning a musical instrument or any other creative skill is exactly what sets it apart from boring business? Decline doesn't happen in music after three or four years. On the contrary you get better and better. Maybe, maybe not.

Here comes the really important part of the Sigmoid Curve:

Decline can be avoided if business reinvents itself

If we take note of this as musicians we might find it beneficial. Reinventing ourselves is a creative process which can include re-examining our technique and musical goals, rather than repeating tried and tested formulae.

At this stage let us examine and question everything we do. Turn concepts on their heads and ask ourselves "what if....?" and "why not...?" See where it leads us.

What we can learn from this is clear: after three or four years it may be time to move on, to develop and change. So far you may have worked hard at becoming a guitarist, but now is the time to make the jump to the next curve and evolve into becoming a musician. That, as the Sigmoid Curve shows, will be the exciting beginning of a new era in order to position yourself for future success.

.And when that cycle has run its course you will be ready to move onwards and upwards – where else, but to becoming an artist.

29th September, London

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Printed from: http://www.carlosbonell.com/blog/?p=2759 .
© 2019.

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