This is the article number 9 in a series on How to get better at scratching by using the Learning Zone vs Performance Zone.
Here are the previous articles so you can get up to speed if you haven’t already read them:
- How to Get Better at Scratching – Learning Zone vs Performance Zone
- Scratching: Learning Zone Ideas
- Scratch Learning Zone: Deliberate Practice
- Scratch Learning Zone: Performance Zone Value
- How to Spend More Time in the Scratch Learning Zone
- Why Do We Spend So Much Time in the Scratch Performance Zone?
- How to Create Spaces for Scratch Learning and Growth
- Is Your Scratch Practice Too High-Stakes?
I recommend checking out the above articles in the series before you read any further, so you have the full context, and to get the very most from the knowledge below.
I am using the framework outlined in the previous eight articles which is based on the TED talk “How to get better at the things you care about” by Eduardo Briceño.
We previously talked about what do if you find that your scratch practice has become too high stakes.
Now that we know what we can do when we find that our scratch practice has become too high stakes, let’s take a look at how we can engage in ongoing scratch learning.
How do we model ongoing learning?
In his TED talk, Eduardo Briceño describes ways we can model ongoing learning.
Real confidence is about modelling ongoing learning.
- What if, instead of spending our lives doing, doing, doing, performing, performing, performing, we spent more time exploring, asking, listening, experimenting, reflecting, striving and becoming?
- What if we each always had something we were working to improve?
- What if we created more low-stakes islands and waters?
- What if we got clear, within ourselves and with our teammates, about when we seek to learn and when we seek to perform, so that our efforts can become more consequential, our improvement never-ending and our best even better?
How do we apply this to scratching?
1. Doing vs Exploring
Instead of “doing, doing, doing, performing, performing, performing” – which for us looks like lots of freestyling to the best of our ability whilst trying not to make mistakes, whether we are alone, with others, or recording a video to post publicly, we spend more time engaged in the following activities:
- Exploring – Study the art by using scratch tutorials or other training materials so that you gain a deeper understanding.
- Asking – Ask questions about anything you are unsure about. Ask for input and feedback from coaches and peers on your practice or performance videos.
- Listening – Really listen to the tutorials, listen to other DJs and most importantly listen to yourself, Train your ear to recognise if you are in time or out of time and what you need to do differently in practice. Listening is a skill that can be developed with practice.
- Experimenting – Try out the techniques you are learning. Once you have the basic mechanics of a scratch technique down, let loose and experiment to see what you can do in your own style / timing.
- Reflecting – Watch your videos back and reflect on how you are doing and what might be next for you.
- Striving – Always know what are you aiming for. For example, is it learning a certain scratch technique? A certain tempo or timing? Maybe it is a foundation scratch that will allow you to move on to more advanced techniques and combos e.g. the slice and dice scratches so you can go on to start learning boomerangs?
- Becoming – By doing all of these activities, you will become better and better at scratching!
2. What if we each always had something we were working to improve?
Here are a few options for you to always have something you are working to improve:
- Option 1 – Seek to always know where you are up to and what you are working on. Keep a skills inventory. It could be training a specific scratch technique or a certain speed etc. You can also set training goals – eg be able to do a certain scratch technique, or do a certain scratch technique in a certain timing pattern or at a specific tempo e.g. 100 bpm.
- Option 2 – Engage in structured learning. School of Scratch can help you with this. We have practice programs to help you practice and improve a specific scratch technique or combo.
3. What if we created more low-stakes islands and waters?
How you can create a low-stakes environment for yourself:
Create this for yourself by unplugging from performing for social media and giving yourself time and space to practice, make mistakes, free from the need to get results or perform perfectly.
4 – Get clear, within ourselves and with our teammates, about when we seek to learn and when we seek to perform, so that our efforts can become more consequential, our improvement never-ending and our best even better?
Know when you are seeking to learn and when you are seeking to perform and have that boundary be very clear.
- I recommend practicing deliberately, without recording yourself to start with so you can be as relaxed as possible and have complete freedom to make mistakes and explore.
- You can record once you are ready to perform and capture your progress so far. You can then watch your video back to see how you are doing where you can improve. Are your cuts clean and on time, for example.
- You could also share your progress video with others and ask for feedback.
- You can take everything you discover from watching your video back and any feedback you receive from others back into the learning zone. In this way, you know exactly what to focus on in practice and will continue to improve on the progress you have made so far.
That wraps up this article on how to take part in ongoing scratch learning.
Now you can start to take the ideas shown here and implement them to help you make continued progress.
My students who follow the guidelines in this series of articles are most definitely the ones who end up making the most progress.