Learn Music Faster – Enjoy the Process of Learning, not the Dream of Playing

Learn Music Faster – Enjoy the Process of Learning, not the Dream of Playing

This ‘Learn Music Faster’ series of posts highlights things my best students do that contributes towards their success. There are no secret formulae or magic tricks. Learning to play well still requires hard work, dedication and above all, practice. However, my students who do these things seem to improve quicker than the others.

 

Enjoy the process of learning, not the dream of playing

 

This is comes up all the time, and I guess it’s understandable. Almost everyone would love to be a great guitarist, pianist, drummer, etc. Unfortunately that dream alone is unlikely to sustain you through the thousands of hours of practice necessary to reach that level. If you’re going to achieve greatness you’re going to have to find a way to enjoy the thousands of hours of practice themselves.

Doing anything repetitive and challenging, like music practice, is a mental test as well as a physical one. If you can enjoy that practice you will come out of it happy and refreshed, even if still a bit tired from the concentration and effort. If you hate the practice then, no matter how much you love the dream of being a superstar musician, you’re going to really struggle to get there.

The best students are the ones who can see the pleasure in every little improvement. The chord change that’s a little smoother today than it was yesterday. The tricky flurry of notes that you’ve just discovered you can play 5 bpm faster, even though performance tempo is still 50 bpm away. The piece that you just played 50% right when last week it was only 40%. The meditative feeling of running up and down a scale for 2 minutes at a challenging but not impossible tempo, or of looping a tricky passage over and over to get it into your fingers, or playing piece you know well while trying to focus on the nuances of timing, dynamics, expression, technique or emotion.

If you can find the joy, satisfaction and reward in these small steps towards fluent playing then the whole process will come easier to you. You will be motivated to sit down an practice for its own sake, not for some distant goal that seems a million miles away.

Practice will still be frustrating at times. We all want to be better than we currently are. There will be occasions where we just seem to get the right sound to come out. Dealing with these frustrations is another important part of the mental discipline of practice. However, if you can find something to enjoy about the process, as well as having a strong ambition to become a good player, that’s a powerful combination.

 

So tell me, what’s you favourite aspect of practice. I’ve given you an idea of what I look forward to in each session. Which bits do you enjoy?

 

Previously on Learn Music Faster – Use a slow-downer tool / application

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