Blog 5: Skills

What skills do I need in-order to reach my goals, what skills do I already possess, and how am I going to reach my skill goals?

I need to be an expert in my guitar skills so that I can perform with excellence.  I am currently working on this goal and have a lot of excellent guitar skills already: I am working on learning to play the music styles of Bach, Via-lobos, and Albeniz.  I need to learn concertos, Brazilian music, and Flamenco music.  I can do this through constant, hard, diligent practice and though the teaching of experts in these said fields of music.  I might study abroad in Brazil or in the county or area that is specifically geared toward the music I want to study. 

         I need to have good people skills so that I can interact, connect, and minister to people.  I already have some skill in this area, but I am not yet proficient in it yet.  I can improve this skill though practical experience and by watching how others people interact with each other.

I need good public speaking skills and stage presence so that I can give concert notes, preach the gospel, and do other things that require public speaking skills.  I can develop this skill through trial and error, taking a public speaking course, and taking a drama or acting class.  

I need to improve my knowledge of scripture so that I can preach the gospel.  I can do this by studying the scripture on my own and with other Christians, listening to the pastor on Sunday mornings, and going to a seminary or some other sort of institution dedicated to the learning and understanding of scripture.   

I need to develop good Internet skills so that I can present myself well on the Internet and Facebook.  I can learn how to do this by trial and error, reading books on the subject, taking classes in how to do it, and going to experts and asking them questions, and getting a tutor or mentor to whom I can ask questions.

I need to have good organization skills.  Of course I have some skill in this area, but I need to develop my organization skills in things like finances and fundraising.  I can do this by asking a lot of questions to people that have knowledge in these things, taking classes in how to do these things, and reading books on these topics.

I would like to improve my knowledge of creation science.  I can do this by reading books on the topic, studying under someone who is an expert on the topic, and taking courses on the topic.

I need to learn a second language.  Not only is this a requirement of the school, but it will also be very useful in my career.  I will be taking several second language courses to reach this skill goal.

Elevator Speech

          Hello, my name is Benjamin Munson; I am a classical guitar artist.  I am currently studying under Robert Guthrie and working on completing my guitar performance degree.  Here’s my card, if you find yourself in need of a live classical guitar artist I would appreciate the opportunity to fill your needs.  You can find some examples of my music on my website.  I have performed in various genres ranging from background music, to concerts, to weddings.   I am looking forward to a carrier as a touring classical guitarist, so any type of performance opportunities that I can do right now would help me achieve that goal.


         When and how am I motivated to work?  I am motivated to work for internal and external reasons.  I am motivated internally by a desire to learn as much of the material as I can and apply the material to my bank of knowledge for future use.  I already do one of the tips that the article suggested as a good study guide; I often try to connect the new things I am learning to the things I already know.  When I work, I try to keep things in perspective, and I also try to always work as unto the Lord.  I am also motivated to work for external reasons too; I know that if I am to retain my scholarships, I must maintain a 3.5 GPA (the only way I can stay at this expensive school is by the financial aid of the scholarships I have earned).  I also know that someday I am going to have to pay my father back for the money he has invested on my behalf for my schooling.

         I work well in an environment that is dedicated to work.  I do not work well in an environment that is meant for entertainment or play.  As long as I understand the assignment that I am doing and what I need to do in order to finish it, I work well with complex equations and questions.  I work well in quiet opened areas free of bothersome noise and distractions.  If people are talking in the background (like background noise) I can work just fine, but if the people taking get too loud, I have to move and find another place to work. 

         My purpose in life is to honor the Lord in all my ways, and share my faith with others.  This both drives and motivates me.  Motivation, for me, has everything to do with purpose; if there is something that has no meaning, no purpose, than why in the world should I do it?  I am against anything that is meaningless; because, God created mankind to have meaning in our lives, to search for meaning in everything we do, see, and experience.  If we take away the meaning, the purpose, for something, it becomes worthless.  I am also motivated to work for rewards, and I believe that if people are truly honest, everyone else is motivated to work for rewards too.  In some cases the reward might be the feeling of a job well done, or the looks of appreciation on the faces of a mother’s children when she serves them a good meal, or the money a father gets for doing a good job at work, and so on and so forth.  In one-way or another, we are all motivated to work for some sort of reward: I know that I am.  But, there are some things that I might do for no reward: an act of love is one of those things.  I have heard of many people who have ministered to people they love for years with no reward at all, they just hope and pray that someday their work of love will someday bear fruit.  The Prophet Jeremiah is a very good example of this kind of selfless love and ministry: he preached to the people of Israel for around forty years and never saw any of his hard work bear fruit.  However, we know from the Bible that his work did eventually bear fruit after his lifetime.  In the same way, there may be things I will do and never see them bear fruit, but I can trust in the Lord and know that He can use my meager work for His glory: now or sometime in future years. 

         I love to do good work and therefor love to get good grades.  When I do not receive a good grade, it reflects badly on my work—and I do not like that.  Since I love the feeling of a job well done, I try to achieve that in all my work, studies, and practice; and that way, I can get good grades in the process.


         The very foundation of my beliefs, values, standards, and in essence the foundation of my house is the Bible, the Word of God.  It is by this book that I have built every thing in my life, and perception of life, starting with my faith in my Savior and friend Jesus Christ.  I am no longer a spiritual orphan, but now I am a new creature in Christ Jesus and an adopted child of God.  May God help me as I try to write down some of the things that I have learned from God’s Word, from my walk with Him, and from others who have walked with Him.

         What drives me?  There are several things that drive me, the first is a desire to serve the Lord with my life in the best way I can and to bless His name.  The knowledge that the Lord loves me and wants the best for me is a great comfort for me.  Another thing that drives me is the knowledge that this is the time when I can build up my ability to support my future family.  There are three main reasons why I play music: the first is that music glorifies God, the second is that music is a balm and the Lord can use my music to heal others and to draw them closer to Him, the third reason is that it is a way to provide for my future family (and reimburse my father for paying for my college). 

         How important are grades, approval, and/or popularity to me?  Grades are very important to me for two reasons: the first is that if I do not get pretty good grades I will lose my scholarship, the second is that I have come to like getting good grades and I see no reason no reason not to try to continue getting good grades.  Approval is a very important thing for me, in that I desire most of all that my actions are pleasing to God.  As for approval from my teachers, peers, and/or acquaintances, it is always nice to have their approval, but if the Lord is pleased with me, I have no need for theirs.  As for approval from close friends, I value all my friends input, and true friends would probably be able to notice errors in my person when I cannot for some reason.  I do value my friends approval, but not as much as God’s approval.  As for popularity goes, I do not care for it much and if I was popular, it would be my goal to not let my popularity go to my head.

         I have found that I am very competitive: competitive with myself and with others. When there is no one to compete with I am competitive with myself.  When there is someone to compete with I am doubly competitive, competitive with myself and with the other person(s).  I was in a particular competition every year for three years running.  The first year, I placed third.  The second year, I placed second.  The third year, I won.  Each year I did my best and carried home a prize. The prize may not have been the biggest one, but to me it was gratifying (and it was really something special to finally

 Win first place).

         Would I consent to work away from my family or for people who stood for something I am against?  I might be willing to work away from my family on a very temporary basis, but not on a long-term basis.  If someone or some organization that stands for something I oppose asked me to play for their fundraiser or meeting reception, I probably would refuse to work for them.

         As for what I want my art/music to accomplish, I would like to quote my favorite composer: J. S. Bach.

                  “The aim and final reason of all music should be none else but the glory of God.”

                                    ———-Johann Sebastian Bach


My Creative Habits

One of the main things I do every day is practice my guitar.  I find that I am most creative if I practice in a quiet practice room where I can concentrate without distractions.  I have also found that I must needs take a fifteen minute break about every hour and fifteen minutes in order for my hands to rest and my mind to regroup.

Another thing that do every day is study.  Sometimes I work best if I’m alone in my room with the door closed and my books in front of me.  Other  times, I work best if I am sitting outside somewhere with the sound of the birds, the bustle of other people, and/or the wind rustling the trees.  When I study outside, I take a brake from studying for a couple of seconds every so often to look around me and talk to the Lord.  Other times, I find that a brief but brisk work-out helps me to think strait. 

When I get frustrated with a problem, class, teacher, or situation, I often call my Dad and just vent. I find that if I do that, I can clear my mind and re-approach the thing I’m working on with a clear mind ( my Dad is a great listener and brainstormer). 

I don’t often take naps when I take brakes; because, I don’t usually have time and I don’t usually  have a cot near by.

I have been told by many people about different ways to study or practice; the articles in the reading portion of this assignment were very similar to what I have heard from other sources; however, some of the material was new to me, and I might be able to use some of the tips later on.


My History

My name is Benjamin Henry Munson.

My father’s name is Henry A. Munson and my mother’s is Gail D. Munson.

I am the eldest of four boys, and the names of my three brothers are Anthony, Samuel, and Isaac Munson.  I was home-schooled from kindergarden through high school. After I graduated from high school I went to a Junior college for two years.  During my time at the Junior college I was able to adjust from high school to college. After two years at the Junior college I was able to transfer to SMU University.

My mother started to teach my me and my brothers all about music when we were very young.  She taught us how to play the piano and a few other miscellaneous instruments. When we surpassed her knowledge of something she would find a good teacher for us ( as with piano).

I started learning classical guitar when I was around thirteen years old. My father had an interest in the classical guitar at that time, so he bought a cheap guitar for himself. When I saw my father playing the guitar, I wanted to learn to play it too.  After a short time, I surpassed my father in the guitar, so my parents, particularly my mother, started looking for a good classical guitar teacher for me.  We finally found one.  His name was Christopher Carrington.  He immediately started to develop my technique.  After a few years of study with him, we had to change teachers because of gas prices ( he lived quite a ways from us).  We found another classical guitar teacher that was closer to us, his name was Andrew Daniel.  He helped me continue to develop my skills and helped me to learn how to compete and play in ensembles.

About a year ago, I went back to Chris Carrington and asked him who I should study under next. He gave me several names and one of those names was Robert Guthrie.  I then started to study with Robert, and now I am one of his promising guitar performance majors.