The Triangle Of Awesomeness

May 24, 2022
Christopher Maloney, music educator and founder of Practice Warriors describes the Triangle of Awesomeness to help musicians get better on their instrument.


It’s common knowledge that the more you play music, the better you will be as a musician. What’s the old saying?  “Practice makes perfect”?  So yes, the more you practice or play your instrument, the better you will be at that instrument.  Pretty simple and straightforward. 

…but it’s also incomplete!  Yes, the result of playing more is getting better, but there’s another result that comes from getting better at playing music.  It’s really the third leg of a music learning cycle, or the cycle of learning anything for that matter.  

When you play (practice), you get better.  But what happens as you start getting better?

You start having FUN!  And isn’t that what it’s all about in the first place?  If it isn’t, it really should be.  If you’re not having fun playing music, I suspect you won’t be doing it for very long. 

This is really what connects this Triangle Of Awesomeness.  If you practice, you get better.  When you get better, you have more fun.  So what happens when you have fun playing music?

You play MORE!!  Are you starting to see it?  It’s a complete learning cycle that is self-perpetuating because it follows a basic human need to, well, enjoy oneself.  If you enjoy something, you’ll tend to do that thing more and more.  Not because you’re told to do it.  Not because your want to be great.  Not because you are going to white-knuckle your way through practicing. 

You do it because you’re having fun.  Simple.  Inspiring.  Easy. 

The challenge is that no one really considers this third leg of learning music.  We just think we’ve got to grind it out and practice, practice, practice so that we can get better.  But to what end?  Why?  Why do you want to get better?  Chances are, when you get right down to it, it’s all about having the ability to enjoy playing music.  In the simplest terms, it’s to have fun.  

It’s this third leg of the Triangle Of Awesomeness that people really need to know about when they are endeavoring to learn music.  At first, a beginner musician starts playing (the top of the triangle), but they don’t sound very good.  I mean…at all!  So they aren’t seeing themselves getting better.  That’s where teachers and common knowledge will tell them “just keep at it, and you’ll get better”.  

But what the student doesn’t know, and the teacher may not inherently tell them, is that they will have more fun as soon as they start improving.  It’s really the best carrot that you can put at the end of the stick.  An evolving musician may have to build a lot of drive to keep up practicing the skills that are challenging to them.  But, if they know that the result will not just be increased skill but also a deep sense of accomplishment accompanied by pure enjoyment, the musician will more likely persevere through the challenges.  They will, in a sense, play more…so that they can get better…so that they can have fun.  

The result is a sort to ‘practicing feedback loop’ that is completely self perpetuating.  This is because once a musician starts having fun as a result of their practicing, they’ll instinctively want to (take a deep breath!) PRACTICE MORE!!  Isn’t this what musicians and teachers all lament; that they or their students don’t practice enough.  When you make that connection to the third leg of the Triangle Of Awesomeness and connect improvement with enjoyment, the musician will continue the cycle on their own.  

So behold the Triangle Of Awesomeness!

When you play (practice) more, you get better.

When you get better, you have FUN!

When you have fun, you play (practice) more. 

And so it goes.  Always take little moments to have fun with even the slightest improvement in your playing, and you won’t need to be told to practice.  You’ll be having too much fun practicing to hear what anyone is saying anyway!

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