An escalator in reverse: never stop studying!

An upside-down escalator (this is why you should never stop studying)


When I have learnt ____ (complete you with subject/topic/hobby etc.), I stop and 'live off'.

Who hasn't thought of that?

  • When I learn English, I put my books away and stop studying (I already know anyway)
  • When I can play scales and arpeggios at 100 bpm, I'll stop doing the technique exercises (except maybe occasionally...)
  • When I have taken the ______ exam (e.g. theory) I will put everything away, as the concepts I have learnt are enough for me

Who has never said sentences similar to these, at least once in their life?

If a topic does not interest you, then off with the tooth (e.g. done with the exam), off with the thought. But if we talk about a topic that does interest us, then this attitude is rather insidious.

To think that one can stop at a certain level and still maintain that level is a kind of 'wishful thinking'.

And to question it, I borrow a very enlightening metaphor that I once read in an email and found particularly apt.

An escalator in reverse...

You know how an escalator works? Well, that email said that the business world is a kind of reverse escalator. You stop, you go back down. You go back down. You go back up.

He meant that if you as a company stop creating, renewing, improving your services, etc., you are bound to lose ground. To go backwards, in so many ways.

This metaphor really struck me because I had the immediate perception of its validity in so many fields.

For example, thinking about foreign languages, which is my first specialisation, I can say that this is absolutely the case.

If you reach level B1 in English (which is the minimum to communicate with a minimum of knowledge) and you stop practising, I'm sorry but you won't be able to maintain it for very long. In a few months you will be back to A2 level, until you forget everything or almost.

I think, indeed I know from experience, that it works the same in music.

Like 16/17 years ago I got the recorder trip. Actually I always had it, ever since middle school. I decided to take the leap and started taking lessons from an Argentinian teacher quite well known in the environment (and very good at it), who lived in Bologna at the time and had studied with one of the most important 'dolcistas' in the world.

Very well prepared on many aspects, in a couple of years he brought me up to a good level for (me) being an amateur. I put a lot of effort in and played hard stuff, Handel sonatas etc., moving quite indifferently from soprano to alto.

Then various vicissitudes took me away from the instrument and from music in general for a long time. I no longer practised it, except occasionally, almost more out of curiosity.

And now? Well, know that on the flute I don't remember anything anymore, not even the fingering on the instrument. I am less than a beginner... When I think about it, a sadness assails me that I won't tell you (and also a certain nervousness towards myself).

What happens if you stop studying the instrument?

The point is this. The principle of the 'reverse escalator' also applies here. If you stop studying the instrument, it would be nice to be able to tell you that you are staying at the level you have reached. It would be nice... but alas, I cannot tell you.

What happens, alas, is that you go back - you get worse. You lose technique, musicality, ideas, familiarity with the instrument. Not immediately of course, but I assure you that the decay process is quite rapid. It only takes a few months to start the descent 🙁

That is why one should never stop practising with some constancy. Add new techniques or refine the ones you already have, try to improve your touch, increase your speed, expand your theoretical concepts, repertoire, etc. All of this is exactly what prevents us from REGRADING.

Because if you stop studying you regress. Lor study, understood precisely as PLEASANT and constructive time devoted to self-improvement, instead makes you progress. It's mathematical!

It also has innumerable other benefits... but I will possibly talk about these in a future post.

Until next time, ANNA


Online course summer 2021

In this sense,summer (which I love!) can get a bit tricky. It's fine to unplug and rest, but it's not that uncommon for people to go MONTHS without touching their instrument, which is what we don't want.

Luckily, Contemporary Bassist Online doesn't go on holiday, and is always available for those who want to take advantage of the summer to indulge their passion.

Click here ==> The Easy Way and find out how the dedicated subscription to the first course level works.

The idea is that this opportunity to study the bass stimulates you to keep in practice during the summer as well. If not, you'll end up putting it off until the autumn, and maybe you'll have to start all over again because you've forgotten everything!

N.B. On the registration page, remember to add Volume 1 by ticking the appropriate box if you do not have it. The book is necessary to follow the video lessons.


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