- The MOST common question that I get (and that the office staff gets) is: "How many lessons do I need to take....?" -or- "How many lessons do I HAVE to take...?" -or- "How long does it take to learn to drive?".
- The real answer is: "AS MANY AS IT TAKES"...."AS LONG AS IT TAKES". It's different for EACH person....no two people are the SAME.
- Consider: similar questions about any other topic specific to yourself..."how many steps does it take to walk from HERE to THERE?...."How many hours do I NEED to sleep to be rested?"...."How many MILES do I need to train to successfully complete a MARATHON?"...."How many CALORIES do I need per day to function in an optimal way?"....and many other questions too !
- For each person the answer and "number" will be different. We expect this. We know intuitively, that learning a complex skill will require some of our time and effort and dedication. We DO NOT expect to "learn" to play the guitar in just a few hours or "lessons". We do not expect to "learn" another language in just a few "lessons" or in a short time period. We do not expect to become proficient playing a SPORT by "practicing" for a few hours or a few days.
- Therefore....we do not attempt to audition for a lead guitar position in a band that is going on a National Tour - after taking only a few guitar lessons. We do not apply to study at a University in a country that does NOT speak our native language - if we have only just begun to study that countries' native language. And - we do not attempt to "try out" for a position on an athletic team - if we have only recently begun to acquire the necessary skills to play that sport. This is ALL REASONABLE and what we would consider to be: "COMMON SENSE".
- WHY THEN do we think that after a few hours behind the wheel, a novice will be able to manage the complex skills that we know are necessary to survive in today's traffic? If you are reading this , and if you are an "experienced" driver: that is: a driver with a minimum of FIVE (5), or more, years of "experience" - you should KNOW that what YOU do every day in traffic took you some time to develop...some time to acquire the necessary skills....some time to become comfortable behind the wheel.
- If you are GOING TO SWIM WITH THE "SHARKS", you are going to need certain SKILLS to be successful. You are going to need KNOWLEDGE that you can apply to the "experience" of being out there with the "SHARKS". You are going to need the CONFIDENCE to know that what you are doing is correct and effective. And, finally, you are going to need some TIME to PROGRAM these skills and concepts into your MIND. After all, it is the BRAIN that is "driving the car". The HANDS and FEET are only the TOOLS used by the BRAIN to carry out the functions necessary.
- Think of SPORTS or MUSIC. Each has a specific set of RULES and each has a specific set of "basic skills" or "moves" that must be learned. Each has a strong element of TIMING that is an essential part of the skill set. In MUSIC, we must play ALL of the notes correctly AND in the correct sequence - but we must also play them at the correct MOMENT: that is: "timing". SPORTS too, has a set of RULES and an essential "skill set" to learn for proficiency, as well as a strong element of "timing".
- DRIVING is no different - a set of RULES (rules of the road and rules of right-of-way: in the Connecticut Operator's Manual) as well as a basic set of PHYSICAL SKILLS that must be practiced and developed for proficiency - and which must become "subconscious" so that we can do them without having to "think" about them each moment that we are driving. We "walk" without having to "think" about HOW to do this - because we learned to "walk" along time ago. It is now "programmed" into our subconscious mind, so we can do it without "thinking" about it. We speak without having to consciously "think" about how language "works" - that is, we do not have to think about the complex rules that are specific to our native language. We have a thought: we just open our mouth and SAY something. AND - we get it done correctly, and are understood, most of the time. ALL without having to "think" about the process. It's in our SUBCONSCIOUS mind and happens "automatically". But we PROGRAMMED these skills there - in our subconscious mind - over some time.
- We are now back to the QUESTION we get all the time: "How MANY...how LONG...? We say that the ANSWER is: WHATEVER IT TAKES. Each student is different. Each student has their own "learning curve". Each student reacts to learning in their own individual way - a way that they have incorporated into their mind over many years in formal schooling.
- Our training is predicated on the idea that students will follow a path that is comfortable for them and that they have refined over a long time. This means a different amount of TIME...a different PACE...and a different NUMBER of lessons and "hours" for different students. This is also why we use a TRAINING OUTLINE with each student to TRACK their individual progress.
- We wish that we had a "Crystal Ball" or some other magic method of predicting how MANY lessons a student will need, or how LONG this might take. But we DON'T! No one does!
- We ask families and friends to be PATIENT with the student - offer ENCOURAGEMENT - do not be judgmental - be SUPPORTIVE!
WHY is it that reasonable, intelligent and educated people think that a complex skill - like DRIVING - can be "learned" in just a few lessons or a few hours???
What is it about driving that seems to move these reasonable, intelligent and educated people to abdicate any of the "common sense" that they use in the daily conduct of their everyday lives?