In my career as a professor I have been thinking about motivation a lot lately. This is one of the toughest nuts to crack when it comes to getting students to get into the right mindset to grow musically.
This difficulty comes from 5 critical concepts and items you must have in order to make progress.
1. Strive for Progress not Perfection. When we want so badly to become better at our craft it is very easy in today’s fast paced world to want it right now. And the fact of life is that any worth having is worth working for.
But how do you deal with this?
For me personally I have become a huge fan of the personal motivational sign. A motivation sign is a very simple tool to help you gain any goal you want simply by making a little sign, or several, and placing them around your home and places you will see them such as your car, instrument case, kitchen sink, bathroom, bedside table, etc.
On your sign you should put a word or phrase that reminds you, in a specific way, what your goal is. In the case of improving as a musician I suggest a sign with the phrase “Fast progress is made with slow practice.”
2. Create a practice schedule. Schedule your practice daily if for only 5-10 minutes a day. Nothing will work better than practicing with focus and intention every day. This can easily be achieved if you plan your practice in advance and use a practice log or journal.
If you are a beginner at reading music focus on spending 5-10 minutes each day reading notes. You don’t need your instrument for this. Just find any piece of sheet music, try 8notes.com if you need some free music to read, and then begin simply saying the names of each note as you read through the music. Playing the notes will come later. This is an example of a focused exercise that is easy to accomplish on a daily basis.
3. Make it fun. The real key to success with music is to make it enjoyable. Choose songs you like when you practice. You should also choose songs that challenge you slightly, but not way too much, to avoid frustration. Frustration is the enemy of progress.
4. Use a pencil. Every time you sit down to practice have a pencil handy to make markings in your music. The number of errors and hours of practice time you will save are immeasurable. It took me 20 years to get in this habit but it is one of the keys that took my playing and music reading abilities to the next level.
5. Learn music theory. There is a reason great musicians recommend this over and over again. Music is a language that is built from rules and patterns. This language is music theory. As difficult as it may seem to a beginner, music theory is a very concrete and real way to learn the inner workings of music that will take the mystery of 99% of how music works. If you are new to this idea begin my free lessons. If you have been struggling with this just remember tip #1, Strive for Progress not Perfection. Since it is a very deep subject it will take time to learn and master, but it is so worth it in the long run.
I hope you enjoyed this post and I want to invite to you take a minute and tell me about you motivations in the comments below.
Also I will be releasing my new e-book in 62 days on May 28th. I am looking for all the input you can give me to help create the best possible book for you guys. If you haven’t already, please take a moment to fill out this survey to put your 2 cents into the book’s creation.
Thanks for following the One Minute Music Lesson and I’ll see you next time,
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