I Don't Know!

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We should always be asking questions.  Questions lead to more knowledge and greater clarification.  Many people are afraid to ask questions sometimes because the feel the question is stupid or for some other similar reason.  Most the time when you say that, someone will reply with there are no stupid questions, only stupid answers.  Would it be better to go through life not knowing something or misunderstanding something and when you have the opportunity to learn more about it or gain a clarification on it form someone that you don’t inquire?  We should take every advantage given in life to learn something new because you never know when that knowledge might be useful to you or someone else.  As always I’ll refer to my trumpet playing.  There are many different philosophies and methods in playing the trumpet.  Many don’t work for me and many do.  Most people just learn about the methods that work for them.  I am a teacher so I learn what works for me but I also spend a lot of time on the things that don’t work for me because most likely one of those other methods will help one of my students.  Many of us don’t learn in the same way.  When seeking a mentor or a teacher be very careful of two things.  If they seem to have an answer for everything you could possibly ask them, be very cautious.  Not in all cases but most cases these people don’t want to come across as not knowing something so they will give an answer for everything even if they are not entirely sure the answer is the correct one.  Someone who can admit they don’t know something but then follows it up with give me some time and I will go find out.  That is someone who you should attach yourself too and learn whatever knowledge you are seeking.  The other thing to watch out for is people who say this is how you do it and my way is the only way.  We all learn in different ways, some of us are audio learners, visual learners, tactile learners, or a combination of them.  For someone to say this way works for me so it will work for you is just wrong.  They might learn in a totally different way from you so what works for them could actually hinder you.  I took a lesson one time from someone who was considered a great trumpet teacher.  She had me by the end of the 4 hour lesson holding the trumpet totally differently, putting the mouthpiece on my mouth in a weird spot, and doing many other different things.  Now I am not afraid to try new things to see if it works but what she was doing made my playing far worse.  The one thing I did like is how she taught breathing and the techniques behind proper breathing.  I loved it!!  I discarded all the other stuff and took away the breathing and that helped my playing in leaps and bounds.  When learning form someone find what applies to you and apply it.  If something doesn’t work for you don’t discard it as non sense or anything like that.  Take in and store what doesn’t work for you because you never know when those techniques might help you help someone else in their training.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be afraid to say I don’t know.  Just don’t say I don’t know and leave it at that.