Have you ever dreamed of playing a musical instrument? Maybe, like most people, you’ve tried it out and concluded that you weren’t musically inclined. Maybe learning the violin became just another new years resolution you never stuck to. Well I’m here to tell you that anyone can learn to play a musical instrument (or do anything for that matter). Who knows, you might be the next Mozart.
But it’s only after we identify the roadblocks that we can work to overcome them. The following are some of the common issues that might hold you back from realizing your true musical potential.
1) You aren’t having fun
This may come as a shock, but feeling forced to practice an instrument is no way to become an expert. It’s believed to take 10,000 hours of practice before you become an expert at something. If that’s true, you better find an instrument that you love playing or you’re going to have a terrible decade learning to play it.
2) You don’t practice enough
The fact is you have to be disciplined. After all, that’s why they call music a discipline. You can’t practice for an hour on tuesday then another hour on Friday. It’s literally impossible to learn a musical instrument this way. All you’ll end up doing is feeling discouraged. I’ve personally done this with several instruments over the years so trust me, I know from experience.
Music is a discipline, and a mistress of order and good manners, she makes the people milder and gentler, more moral and more reasonable. — Martin Luther
3) You didn’t set a reachable goal
The only way to feel like you’re actually improving is by setting a goal. When I began learning classical guitar, I set out to memorize one scale a week. I also committed to learning one piece of music at a time, and i would divide those up into smaller sections.
The key for me was to make concrete and realistic goals, the type of goals I could actually stick with and accomplish in a short period of time. These goals will be different for every person, but as long as you are measuring your progress and improving, you’re golden.
4) You picked the wrong instrument
This goes back to point #1, it’s imperative that you love playing the instrument you’ve chosen. If you’ve chosen to learn guitar but always feel jealous of drummers, why not put down the guitar and bang on the drums for a while and see how it feels? There are a ton of musical instruments out there and you never know when you might fall in love.
5) You aren’t being encouraged
You have to surround yourself with positivity. Whether it’s a parent, a spouse or your kids, you need that positive reinforcement. And believe me, it really doesn’t take much to impress someone. While you may notice every little mistake you make, to the audience it just looks like magic.
Notice I didn’t mention anything about taking lessons or finding a good instructor. Sure it can be beneficial but the bottom line is, if you don’t love playing the instrument and practice it every day, you’ll never be great at playing it.
Also published on Medium.