Sometime ago, I wrote a blog post call ‘Why Smart Work Is Overrated In Music
‘ explaining that looking for shortcuts won’t always help you reach your goal faster. I got criticised by some readers for being ‘negative’, when in fact, I was purely being realistic about what it takes to do well in learning an instrument. What I wrote is actually nothing new, but I felt the need to ‘speak out’ after observing over the course of this
year, a rise in the ‘instant’ culture where everything we want must be had NOW.
It’s a new year and the usual goal-setting, planning, resolutions and other hopes and ambitions have begun. I want to make a small, but simple suggestion, based on my own experience (including mistakes I’ve made) which might just help you reach your musical goals.
Do a little each day.
Not revolutionary or sexy is it. But it could make a profound difference. People often talk of how quick a year goes.
Just imagine if by the end of this year, you were far better at the piano, guitar, singing etc than where you were now. How would you feel and more importantly, what would that enable you to do? What springboard would being a better musician give you? The ability to play your favourite songs/other pieces? Play with others in a group? Think what results that seem far off now, would become more realistic as a result of what you did everyday this year?
I realise that working on your skill each day (if it’s not top of your daily/weekly priorities) can prove challenging, so it
might be a case of asking yourself: “how high on the non-essential priorities do I want to put music making?” Only you will know. Most importantly, act when you’re inspired to play or learn something – do not wait until the enthusiasm dies down. On the other hand, use the principles of discipline and paying attention to gain interest to get you practicing when you don’t feel like it.
Discipline sounds like a quality only the “chosen few” have/who cultivated from an early age. However, see it as a game, almost a test of your emotional strength. You wake up and you mentally might not feel like exercising or practicing, however you know how much better you’ll feel when you make yourself do it and ‘come out the other side’ having done something you didn’t want to in the first place! Make positive reinforcements whenever you achieve something you weren’t mentally interested in doing and you’ll develop the discipline to do more and thus achieve more.
‘Pay attention to gain interest ‘ is exactly what it means – focus and be engaged in what you’re doing and you’ll soon find your mind is occupied with the task at hand and as a result, will discover things that pique it’s curiosity whether it’s a series of chords progressions you can’t play, learning a guitar scale or thinking of a catchy melody for your
Bottom line, do a little each day, even if it’s for 20 minutes. After only a week, you’ve
built some momentum. I’d like to hear your stories and progress with learning
piano especially towards the end of this year.
Until then, have a happy, healthy new year