The Top 5 Myths Of Learning MusicFeb 18, 2022
When it comes to practicing music, regardless of what instrument you play, there are a lot of ideas that people have that keep them from reaching their highest potential. In our Practice Warriors Masterclass (at www.practicewarriors.com) we go over the many of these myths and either give them validity or shoot them down cold!
It's important to be clear about what learning and practicing music IS and what it ISN'T. This way, as challenges occur when you're practicing (trust me...challenges WILL come!), you'll be totally prepared to handle them instead of getting discouraged and disheartened.
At Practice Warriors, we have discovered 15 Myths that regularly confuse people about practicing. Right now, however, let's just talk about the top 5 myths of learning music. You'll understand which ones are true, which are false and which are true....BUT! That's an actual answer, by the way, “True...But”, where it can actually be a little both. Before we move forward, we must clear up some of these myths once and for all.
The Top 5 Myths Of Learning Music
- I DON'T HAVE TIME TO PRACTICE
FALSE: You ALWAYS have time to practice, just like you always have time to eat, to get dressed, to brush your teeth and every other 'daily ritual' you perform. It's not that people don't HAVE the time, but it's that people don't MAKE the time. In order to become accomplished or skilled at anything, you must commit to CREATING time in your life to learn that skill every...single...day. We all unconsciously waste lots of time during any given day. The key to creating more time is to find the hidden minutes you waste and use them in a consistent and productive way. If you look hard enough, you can definitely find a “25th hour” in the day for anything.
- YOU MUST PRACTICE FOR HOURS AT A TIME
FALSE. Certainly the longer you practice, the quicker results and improvement may come. However, the idea that you MUST practice for hours and hours at a time is false. More important than how LONG you practice is how OFTEN you practice. For example, practicing 20 minutes a day, every day, is more effective than practicing an hour a day three times a week, even though the later example gives you more hours per week.
1st scenario: 20 minutes x 7 days = 140 minutes/week
2nd scenario: 60 minutes x 3 days= 180 minutes/week
So why is it better to practice as illustrated by the first scenario even though you are practicing less total time than the second scenario? This is because you are learning a physical skill, and physical skills need one thing more than anything else...repetition! It's the consistent repeating of the motions and the movements that help ingrain your skills and techniques into your permanent subconscious. Practicing everyday helps you learn these physical skills quicker than if you skips days.
- YOU MUST PRACTICE EVERY DAY
TRUE...especially at first. If you haven't been able to keep to a consistent schedule with anything (ex: working out, dieting, practicing, studying, etc.), it's always a smart move to make sure you do your ritual every single day. This is especially true when you are starting out, as you haven't yet created a fully engaged 'habit'. When you're first starting out, taking a day off can easily turn into two days, then three, then a week, and so on. When people are embarking on a new practice ritual, I always suggest that they try to play every single day for the first 30 days. Since the length of minutes per day can vary, this will keep you motivated and consistent without having you burn out.
- PRACTICING IS HARD
TRUE...BUT only if you're doing it right! When you practice, you should be working on skills that you're not familiar with. This means you'll always feel a little bit uncomfortable with what you are woking on. This is the ONLY path to improvement. If you are 'practicing' what you already know or are good at, you are not practicing...you are playing or performing. Improvement only comes when you take skills and concepts that are hard, which is actually unfamiliar, and work on them until they become easy or really, they become familiar.
We talk a LOT about this very insightful concept of familiar and unfamiliar all throughout our Practice Warriors site, and we'll certainly be blogging about it here in future posts as well. It's one of the best concepts to overcoming self doubt and being able to handle any challenges in your life!
- YOU MUST HAVE TALENT
FALSE. So many people don't even attempt to learn music because they say they have “no talent”. This could be the one thing that I've personally heard from people the most that has kept folks from experiencing the incredible joy of playing music. While some people can exhibit a 'natural inclination' towards a particular ability or skill, talent is completely unnecessary for somebody to build strong musicianship. In fact, most 'normal' people who have achieved their success through consistent practicing are often mistaken for people who are talented. Talent is often mistaken for the result of consistent work. If you have the desire, the drive, the method and the consistency of practicing regularly, you will achieve any musical goals you set out to conquer. You will become a PRACTICE WARRIOR!
...and there you go. Now you know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but. It's only by knowing what learning music really is that you can actually begin to engage in it fully.
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