Wordlessly Working

Eight videos in, and there is a three-way split concerning opinions on my recent run of wordless workshops:

  1. It’s a refreshing change!
  2. I absolutely hate it.
  3. Patrick, you are out of your mind.

This is all fascinating to me because I have over one thousand video workshops on YouTube alone. I have been creating online content since 1997. Making new educational material without constantly reevaluating the teaching process would fit the definition of insanity often misattributed to Albert Einstein.

Mere repetition does not lead to perfection. You can do something over and over for fifty years or more and still suck at it.

I am in a weird time of my life. Readjusting to being almost deaf again (possibly for good this time) and going through extensive dental work. I was in a similar situation ten years ago as a newlywed facing a massive health crisis. As each of us grows in experience and skill in the pursuit of our art, we are also shaped by the everyday events in our lives. Faced with the realization that I will most likely need to communicate through ASL as I grow older and my remaining hearing fails, it only makes sense for me to explore teaching complex ideas without the aid of descriptive speech.

There is also an interesting reductive element to teaching in this manner. The lessons are unencumbered with opinions, jokes, or anything else. There is the song, the rhythm, the chord progression and the major scale. If you are versed in the basics, you already have everything you need to play along.

So, love or hate the wordless workshops, I will be working this way for a little longer – at least until the next idea comes along.