Spinning Plates

For some time now I’ve been talking about plate spinning in my lessons. To me it applies to everything in life that requires many skills. Ultimately your success as a musician involves juggling all of these plates. You just you just have to keep spinning these plates often enough so that they don’t fall.

The rest of the story:

It seems like the longer you spend a spinning plate, the longer it goes on spinning and stays in your head. You can go for years without riding a bike, or using roller skates, or doing any number of things like that, yet when you go back to them those plates are still spinning. Those are like plates that spin for your whole life.

This gets into how memory works.

You will hear a lot about short term memory and long term memory. The most typical example of short term memory given is a phone number, a phone number we look up and remember just long enough to call it. And then we never use it again. An hour later we have no idea what that phone number was, because we didn’t need it for more than a second.

Long term memory is used to describe things that we remember permanently.

These are the things that don’t fade much over time. The problem is that there are different degrees of long term memory. So some long term memories are longer than others. And it seems to be linked to how early we learn things and how long we use them.

Some of your plates need to be spun every few hours.

But others will keep spinning for days, weeks, months, or even years. It’s as if the longer you spin a plate, the longer it will go on spinning. Let’s call these long spinning plates permanent plates.

Some plates will keep on spinning on their own almost forever.

It seems like when you have a plate that goes on spinning by itself for a very long time, another plate that is close to that plate also wants to do the same thing.

Leave a Reply