Learning, Collaborating and Performing in Accordance With Your Nature

Each of us has a unique nature and each of us comes to
learning guitar and expressing musically from a place that is tied to that
nature. As both a teacher and someone committed to my own evolution, I am
constantly investigating the many different ways we humans learn, process and
actualize, as well as what we find to be stimulating, what motivates us and
what makes us feel comfortable and safe. In teaching, I benefit from analyzing
and responding to the way people learn best (aural, visual, kinesthetic, etc.)
and whether they operate primarily from the left brain or the right, as well as
whether they are more active or passive in approach, what constitutes their
optimum concentration span, their natural tempo for communication and much
more. In working with a variety of traits, I have come to feel that the element
in our nature that may drive or affect our relationship to creativity and
performance the most is our place on the spectrum of introversion or

We live in a culture that places a high value on
extroversion. Our culture also values creativity, however, which seems somewhat
ironic, as the majority of people who are assessed as creative are also
classified as introverts. The irony lies in the fact that representing oneself
as a musician or other artist is likely to be uncomfortable for the introvert
and performing may feel like torture. Even entering into the study of music can
be daunting, due to the generally accepted cultural values of wealth and fame,
as represented by an emphasis on stardom and self-promotion.
Many of my new guitar students reveal a lot about their
nature in our first conversation by announcing “I just want to do this for my
own enjoyment.” Others reveal their dreams of fame and their dedication to the
path that will lead them to those dreams. Those students who recognize their
own traits are able not only to nourish their own inner being, but also to
inform others of those traits, in order to receive respect and assistance with
their goals.

There is no set definition of introversion or extroversion –
or, perhaps more accurately, there are many definitions. None of us is 100%
introvert or extrovert, but most of us fall somewhere on the spectrum of either
introversion or extroversion. When determining introversion or extroversion, it
is often necessary to look below the surface. For example, it is quite possible
to be shy and be an extrovert or to be an anxious introvert as opposed to one
who is calm. Because I am gregarious and talkative (traits usually attributed
to extroverts), I am often mistaken as an extrovert, but when given the choice
between attending a party or spending quiet time with a book, I will go for the
book every time. I need and enjoy people, but I always choose one-on-one
conversation over group interactions. I am uncomfortable in the spotlight and I
require a lot of time alone – preferably in nature – in order to charge my
creative battery and maintain my physical health and emotional well-being. Those
are traits that place me solidly on the introvert spectrum. It is worthwhile to
take time to discover your own traits in order to provide for yourself the
optimum environment for comfort, productivity and creativity.
If you are interested in these ideas, you will want to read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a Noisy World, by Susan Cain. It is a
provocative and informative book and one that I consider important. Check out this TED talk by the author to learn about the subject and get a feel for the book. For a shorter synopsis that is accompanied by Molly
Crabapple’s wonderful illustrations, take a few minutes to enjoy this entertaining video.

Enjoy being who you are – The world needs
all of us!

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