Friday, November 16, 2012

Jamming with professionals

So I just watched this: (5  mins long - don't worry which uses the metaphor of music being a language. The video talks about how many musicians "can only be learned by following a strict regiment under the strict tutelage of a skilled teacher." and that with with learning spoken natural language that you are encouraged to make mistakes. It's argument that this model is wrong.

 - Learning is not something you are sent to do just a few times a week.
 - The people you speak to are not just beginners. They are proficient.
 - that if we are only aloud to speak with beginners we will take much longer to speak like an adult.

And that we should learn to embrace mistakes. That we should learn to encourage beginners to play and with accomplished musicians on a daily basis. And that "music works best when we have something to say." as well as that too many rules can slow down learning.

How does this compare with learning our craft? Many new working programmers are not allowed to be in an environment where they can make mistakes. Most of the time we are always 'in concert'. By the nature of those developers being paid to provide a professional service the majority will only ever end up sounding like band in the school play.

There are others who hack at home. These are the musicians that play without fear. They will make mistakes but learn but can also fall in to the trap having one way to do things. Without jamming with professionals how can the enthusiastic hacker know their weak points? Will they only be able to play one tune?

I guess the solution is that we need to have time & space to make our mistakes with mentored supervision. Now I know that there are some companies that promote this & with the advent of code dojo's, hackathons and code retreats we are being give a change to make mistakes. I just wish that I knew that when I was learning to play.