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How to Make Your Musical Resolutions Stick

 

Making Your Musical Resolutions Stick

 

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that one of your personal resolutions is to improve your musical skills, whether by learning a new instrument or taking them to a new level. But as everyone knows, resolutions are much easier to make than to keep. So how do you stay motivated month after month? Here are a few tips:

 

Set realistic goals

 

If you set the bar too high too soon, anything short of spectacular progress feels like failure, so it’s important to set realistic short-term goals that reflect your overall direction, experience and time available. For example, given 30 days, a beginning blues guitarist might shoot for playing a 12-bar shuffle boogie pattern with a solid feel, while a more experienced player might set out to transcribe and memorize a 12-bar BB King solo. Start with modest goals and don’t stress; as you gain skill, you’ll also gain the ability to tackle bigger challenges.

 

Use the time you have

 

Life is busy and playing time is at a premium, but even ten minutes in the morning, after work, or before bed is enough to develop skills and maintain momentum. Focus on playing one thing at a time really well - each small success will keep you looking forward to your next playing session. 

 

It’s not a race

 

It’s hard not to compare yourself to others, but your only true competition is with your own potential. The real goal of learning music is not to play fast or know a lot of tricky chords, but about connecting a feeling to a sound. Take your time, make every note count, be persistent and great things will happen. 

 

Practicing: all work and no play?

 

The word “practice” is often misunderstood as “something tedious you have to do before you play music,” but in reality, practicing and playing are the same thing. With every note you play, whether its part of a scale pattern or a song, you’re simultaneously playing music and practicing your skills.  Yes, technical exercises are important, but so is listening, learning songs, playing with friends, sitting in on jam night - they all make you a better musician.

 

Music: all play and no work?

 

If you assume that learning an instrument is quick, east, and non-stop fun, you're probably not going to stick with it. It is one of the most satisfying things you'll ever do, but it's also a complex mental and physical challenge. Knowing that, the feeling of accomplishment that you get from overcoming obstacles and creating music is the ticket to a much higher level of fun- it puts the "play" into "playing music". 

 

 

 

 

 

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