I have been learning the Swedish language for the past year. And recently I reached the B1 level of knowledge. Learning this new language was so much fun! Most of the times it was really like a fun game to me, and the reward to be able to speak fluently brings a lot of joy.

During this time I noticed 3 principles which helped me to learn to speak much faster. And 2 minutes ago, while I was playing the guitar, I was thrilled to realize that those same “rules” are helping me learn a new guitar technique!!

But I also must point out another thing. I notice that we have different ways of learning. Some people which are like me like to think the steps of the process through. I personally like to talk about the things I am learning and to write those things down. This helps me to understand it all better and on more levels. But others may deffinitely prefer a more action and less talk approach, a less cerebral method with less words. Beause in the end the words are here just to describe the real experience, anyway. So make sure you understand your own style and go with your flow!



My 3 advices to myself while learning a new language (and how they relate to music):

1. Think directly within the language you’re learning and use the vocabulary you already know

Language wise, it’s much more complicated to first think up a sentence in your native language, and then try to translate it into the goal language. But how do you accomplish thinking directly in the goal language? Well, it”s actually much easier than it sounds! For example, you might be walking down the street and see a car leaving its parking place and driving away down the street. It is actually quite complicated to try and translate a sentence such as this one: “the chauffeur steered the driving wheel by turning it into the appropriate position, then departed the vehicle from its parking place, and afterwards continued to drive it down the street”. And you could simply directly say this in Swedish: “the man drives a car down the road”. Well, the benefit is obvious — using very simple vocabulary which you already know, directly in the goal language, you avoid going through the trouble of trying to translate something overly complicated by using difficult words, which you may not even know yet.

Instrument wise, this comes down to simplicity. We always try to play faster, to rush ahead and to overly complicate things. This creates immediate new blocks that need to be overcome right away. And it is actually possible to build on top of your your existing skills, from the place where you are now, rather than trying to jump ahead too much.

2. Speak/play with optimism and confidence

This is very, very important! 🙂 We need to accept that we will make mistakes and that this is perfectly natural. I always remind/allow myself to feel joyful when starting to speak, and to see it as a fun game which I like and enjoy. I put on this attitude of confidence and optimism. It’s important to have fun (… what an odd and interesting sentence!). Please, never cramp your spirit, never, ever criticize yourself unappropriately, and do stop to notice all the progress you’re making. Your positivity is equaly important in musical communication, because the listener tunes into the tone of your musical message.

3. Speak/play fluently and coherently

This may be actually the easiest step, once you try it. And it goes a little like this: while speaking out a word, I deliberately do not use the words such as “aaaaaa”, or “uuhmmmmm”, or those big pauses between the words. They create blocks on the road which I foolishly set for myself. As a result of not using them, my sentences are immediately connected and fluent. And what this manifests as in practice is that I start very slowly, and reach the speed gradually. I find this slow approach much more gentle on my body and mind than running ahead too fast.