I am certain that you’re not all terribly fascinated by a chronicle of my progress on Guitar Hero. However, it provides a certain window into the mind that I find interesting.
The Guitar Hero controller has five color-coded keys on the neck. The Easy level only uses three keys (green, red, yellow). The Medium level adds in the blue key. So far so simple – I have four fingers on my left hand. (Hope you do too.) So learning to play on Medium involves mentally assigning each finger its own color. Red key is always middle finger.
Moving from Easy to Medium was no problem. But now I’ve started playing on the Hard level, which adds in the fifth key, orange. Moving to Hard requires (for me) a total remapping of my brain. I have to be able to shift my whole hand one key to the right or left as demanded by any particular string of notes that hits orange. So when a red note is due, I might be hitting it with my middle finger OR my index finger.
The paradigm shift reminds me of home-row typing. Or of juggling – I can juggle three items, my favorite version involving a basketball, a volleyball and a ping-pong ball – but I have never been able to remap my brain to the right pattern for juggling four items.
I wonder if there is an analogy in chess improvement. Maybe the switch from concrete calculation to more abstract positional evaluation.