Thursday, September 19, 2013

Learning and Practice

My day off was rather wonderful in its own way. I did manage to do the repair that I needed to do. I'm a few days late returning it to the customer, but not too bad. I ran all over town to do my errands and still ended up forgetting to buy post-it-notes (how did we ever survive before these little items were invented?) and completely forgot to drop by the comic store *sigh*. But I got the myriad of other things on my long list done and I did treat myself to one thing...

At the archery store/range they taught me the
step-through method of stringing my bow.
I don't think I like that method, so I looked for other types. 

I bought a bowstring for one of my bows! I spent time at home practicing stringing my bow and unstringing it again, and practiced the proper hold and pull for the string. This is absolutely using arm muscles that I haven't used enough recently, so it will take some time to get into the groove. I figure if I practice the basics like this and pull my string as if it is an exercise (number of reps, resting, then pushing for another rep, etc) then by Spring I might be ready to actually shoot some arrows. At any rate, the exercise certainly can't hurt.

This angel is using the brace and pull method. I've been using
this method and I like it better than the step-through method.

Picking up the bow and learning how to string and unstring it reminded me that even though I see something and ask questions, if it is a new process, it still needs to be learned and practiced. Certainly there are some things that may come easier to a person than another. I'll never be a woodwind or horn player - just not. I have no breath control and my lips vibrate too much with reed instruments, making me laugh because it tickles. My string instruments, however - they are my love. I suspect someone who plays trumpet would be unlikely to pick up the violin as a second instrument.

This is a kneel and pull method which I might play a bit with. I'm
still looking for a method that feels comfortable and natural
for me to do, but so far the brace and pull method is what I'm using. 

Muscle control and the ability for fine motor control are learned through practice and repetition. What is hard the first five, ten, twenty or one hundred times will become easier with practice and eventually will become second-nature. I'm asking my muscles to do things that I've always wanted to do, but never had the equipment to do before. It will take time to train my muscles into these new patterns and practices.

This is a vintage photograph of a brace and pull method
in use. The disadvantage of this method is if the bow slips.
The disadvantage of the step-through method is that it can
put uneven torque on the bow as it is being stresses into
its new form.

So as we enter the back-side of the week, think about the things you practice in your daily life. I write every day - that's practice because I'm constantly attempting to improve that skill. I communicate back and forth with friends on a daily or weekly basis - I think that friendship needs to be an ongoing thing, not left to rely on sporadic rain showers and sunshine. I work on my artwork, create new patterns and check out new processes, not only because it's fun but also because it's practice in the various techniques I want to use.

Skills are learned and then refined. What will you learn today?

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