This post is based off my personal experiences in the last 3 years. If you feel like something else should be added to this, contact me, or write it in the comments section.
Its true, you can teach yourself just about ANYTHING you want. There are no gimmicks and you dont have to spend a dollar. All you need is some time and an openness to explore and try new things. Your motivation and desire to learn is what will fuel you through this.
Information + Self Experimentation = Teach yourself Anything
Throughout the entire process of building Piano Across America I have done almost EVERYTHING myself. Its mostly because i didn't have the money to pay people to do tasks for me, so I figured, why not just do it myself?
The equation above is a simple explanation of how I taught myself these skills:
- Jazz Piano
- Video Editing
- Wordpress + HTML
- Building groups and Management
- Organization and Productivity
- Piano Moving
- Music Science
- Producing Video
- Making money on the internet
- Making money on eBay
It is everywhere, but how do you find it and how do you know what to trust?
The 2 Greatest sources of FREE information right now are books from the Library and the Internet.
These are MASSIVE gold mines of News, Information, knowledge, Advertising, theories, and even lies.
Its important for one to remain skeptical of ALL opinions until you can read multiple sources that confirm it. Too many people believe the first thing they hear at the coffee table, when the truth has already been distorted.
Right now, with a few clicks I can be listening to a lecture about Physics, learning volumes of Bach Inventions, watching a TED talk about sustainable energy, and learning about how to manage my daily activities.
The hardest part about finding information is SEARCH. Even Google can be convoluted with too many Ads and not enough meat to bite into.
Knowing how to search Google is key to finding the right information. (See: How to Use Google Search Effectively)
Its certainly not as easy as 1-2-3 because everyone works differently.
We all learn and retain information in different ways. But after spending almost 21 years of my life in school systems I can tell you for sure that I've learned just as much by simply living my life, reading books, and exploring new ideas on my own than sitting in a classroom and memorizing facts.
Experimentation (also known as Practicing the craft) is the key to your confidence and learning how to do something better.
You can gain heaps of information and memorize tons of facts, but if you have never applied any of that information to real life, then all of it is useless. Experience is key to learning anything.
For example, I couldn't speak Spanish after taking it in High School. But when I went to Dominican Republic for 2 weeks and started meeting people I was able to pick up words and phrases instantly.
By the 7th day of traveling I was able to have longer broken-spanish conversations with locals. I even made a few close friends who I still speak with via Skype.
As with anything, there are some drawbacks to doing everything yourself. When it comes to learning a skill like Piano, you may miss important details or become impatient and rush through critical lessons forcing you to go back and re-learn things. Which is why I recommend finding a Mentor.
Finding a Mentor
There have been many instances throughout the last 3 years where I hit a roadblock in my exploration of the Piano. I would reach a new level of understanding on approaching a piece of music, but somehow became stuck using the same ideas over and over again and not continuously challenging myself.
Sometimes I would keep persisting on my own until i found a way out. And other times I would need a guide to help me open those new doors.
I found that the times I met with a mentor/teacher were 100% valuable. He opened my mind to a new way of looking at the Piano and showed me the things I missed in my self exploration.
One thing that can help is creating a group of people who are learning the same subject. This would be a place where you can meet every week and discuss each others findings. It will only benefit each others minds in doing so.
Make a list of 7 things you want to learn in 2013. Write them down and then start with some Google searches. Check out TED talks, StumbleUpon, and Twitter. Look up books on Amazon in the subject you want to learn. A lot of the times you can find so much free information, you wont have to buy anything.