Music is a big part of my life. I can’t sleep without listening to music. I can’t study without some music in the background. I can’t go on a hike without listening to music. So it was only natural that I picked up an instrument and play music. And I picked up the guitar. I learnt the theories, went through tutorials on the internet, learnt the basic chords and started strumming it. As soon as I woke up, I would start practicing it. I would practice playing my favourite songs and would also come up with my own mini compositions. This went on for few months – quite sadly. Then, I stopped practicing the guitar. A very lame excuse: I didn’t have enough time. Studies, work and other hobbies. Even though I am constantly surrounded by music and musician friends, I haven’t been able to arrange time for practicing the guitar.
Now why am I flogging myself to death? What’s the point of all this moaning and mopping?
Here’s what I think.
Learning a (new) language is like learning to play the guitar (or any musical instrument). You can’t get better at it if you don’t practice it. You might learn about the language in the class from your teacher, but if you don’t use it outside to create your own discourse / dialogue / conversation with others – you, my friend, are just learning the language for tests. Not for real life.
I know a lot of musical theories, I think I know the grammar of music too. But when it comes to playing music, I am hopeless at it. Despite a constant barrage of ‘comprehensible musical input’, I haven’t been able to produce any significant output. I see a lot of English language learners (and even English language teachers) very competent at theories but when it comes to “language-ing”, they are as hopeless as I am .
There you go – a very blunt opinion!