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Zones

zones, wide view

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 are strengths & weaknesses lie. Being informed is a solid approach.

This is an evolving map.

We predominantly view practice through the Technics lens. These are the things we typically do within our practice time...scales, exercises, etc. Yet, practice includes the whole picture. We consider each zone as a space to understand what is happening for us as musicianers. And, how one affects the other, is where much of the action is found. Things have a way of cascading.

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 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 'big zone'].

With continued awareness of & exercise in these zones, our practice can [& shall!] flourish.

Technics are the physical dimension to playing; our techniques. This is where most of our actions for practice live. Technics include fretting, pickstyle, strumming, fingerstyle, tap-touch, and whatever other physical actuating we may include.

Taking action in this area is immense. It is truly endless. It is every version of every known 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.

Understanding our internal space is paramount to enjoying a fulfilling playing life. 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 improve our playing confidence, openess to new ideas, depth of humor, our sense of musical space [feeling-tone], our inner hearing [connection to musical self], our 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.

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.

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.

The idea here is that we consider these ideas, at least for 4 minutes [that's a full minute per zone!]. Try checking in with each for any given moment. As with everything, we test things for ourselves. We are looking to see if zone awareness & activity can deepen our total experience as a musician [most likely will!]. And, we do it, just because it is interesting [or not!].

In doing this, we look for how actions in one zone affect another [thumbs up, down?]. We all know the feeling of being underprepared. When we are prepared, and remain open, good experiences typically follow. With our preparations, we seek balance & not overkill [leave a little wiggle room]. We try to maintain a light touch.

In thinking about these zones, & taking action, again, we seek balance. All of us most likely know folks that obsess about one particular thing to the exclusion of other vital dimensions ... virtuosos that find it challenging to have a conversation, gear-heads that can hardly play much of anything, social cats that forget to practice parts because they are socializing instead, or maybe introverts that are completely terrified of the stage or jamming with others. There can be positives to some of that. And, maybe some of us have been one or all of those types at one time in our lives. No big deal.

A little bit of everything can deepen, balance, & expand our total experience.