Another 5 Myths Of Learning MusicApr 04, 2023
In an earlier blog post, I talked about the Top 5 Myths that people have with learning music. Like most myths, some are True, some are False and some could be thought of as True, BUT… where this is some validity to the myth.
…but are there only five myths? Of course not! The good folks here at Practice Warriors (www.practicewarriors.com) have discovered 15 of the most widely misunderstood beliefs when it comes to learning, practicing and playing music. Since we’ve already gone through numbers 1 through 5, let’s investigate Learning Music Myths 6 through 10. It’ll be interesting to see which of these you thought were true or not.
6. SOME PEOPLE CAN'T PLAY LIVE
FALSE: There are people who think they are just 'bedroom players’; folks who just play by themselves and never get to experience the joy of either playing with other musicians or playing in front of an audience. Some folks are amazing players in their own space, but fall apart in front of other people. Playing with other musicians or in front of other people is just a skill like any other; it needs consistent attention and repetition. The more you play with and in front of other people, the more comfortable you will become and the better you will be. Yeah, it'll be really uncomfortable the first few times you do it, but it WILL become easier. Promise! If you’ve been waiting to play in front of other people, get out there as soon as possible.
7. YOU SHOULD SOUND GOOD WHEN YOU PRACTICE
FALSE. Like I said before, if you sound good when you practice, you aren't actually practicing...you're performing. The act of practicing is solely focused on taking what is unfamiliar and making it more familiar, so you are able to execute these new skills at will. You will certainly start to sound good as you improve on a particular concept, craft or song. Once you achieve proficiency or mastery on it, you can certainly work to maintain that level. However, that is simply performance and maintenance at that point, not practice. This is also why it's important to practice away from other people, as you want the freedom to sound 'bad' while you work to sound 'good'. Practicing in front of other people isn't practice; it's performing. So again, focus on working on the skills that you don't sound good doing...yet!
8. PRACTICING TEMPORARILY DECREASES CREATIVITY
TRUE...BUT, it doesn't have to. Some people use this as the ultimate excuse for not practicing. “Well, I don't want to kill my creativity, man”. When you are in an intense period of improvement, you will be completely focused on the tasks at hand. If you're practicing correctly, there will be just a few goals that you will be concentrating on. Creativity might take a backseat to repetition and ritual, as you will be literally reprograming yourself to play in a different way. Once you are finished with a particularly intense period of practicing (which some people call a Woodshed Period), your creativity will come flooding back. In fact, you'll actually become more creative as you become more proficient, comfortable and confident on your instrument.
9. I’M NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO LEARN MUSIC
FALSE. This is just one of those negative feelings people have about themselves. They think “Who am I to be able to play music?” It doesn't matter if no one in your family ever played music. It doesn't matter if you've never learned an instrument before. It doesn't matter if you started when you're six or sixty. Every single person has the ability to learn how to play an instrument if they utilize their desire and drive. With a good method, a consistent Practice Ritual, and experienced guidance, ANYONE can learn to play music and become a PRACTICE WARRIOR!
10. YOU MUST PLAY THINGS SLOWLY AT FIRST
TRUE! When people learn something new and they aren't playing it correctly, there is usually one big culprit...speed! They're simply playing something too fast. In order to truly master a scale, a chord change, a section of music, or a challenging passage, you need to play it as slow as you need to where there are NO MISTAKES. Understand that your physical body doesn't know what's right or wrong until you tell it so. If you keep playing things incorrectly, your body will learn and condition itself to play incorrectly. So make sure you play EVERYTHING at a tempo, or speed, where you are not making any mistakes. Trust me, this is the challenging part. Once you’ve learned something correctly, speeding it up actually comes pretty easily; it just takes time. You don't want to sabotage all the hard work you're putting in by sacrificing precision for speed. The speed WILL come!
And there you go, folks. Remember, you won’t be able to improve on your musical skills if you carry around false beliefs about practicing.
Wait…didn’t I say there were 15 Myths to Learning Music? Well, you’ve got the Top 10 now. Stay tuned for a future article, where we’ll dispel more myths that might keep you from becoming your ultimate musical self!
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