Recently a struggling student said that he’s never been successful at anything in his life. He looks at others and compares their achievements against his, including playing the guitar. Over my years of teaching, I find that the biggest challenge for adult students is self doubt dancing with regret. They’ve always wanted to play, but life got in the way. Then one day, they summon their courage and try to learn, some via on line videos, books or private instruction. I’ve taken lessons before and know how intimidating it is to play something for my teacher, at home, it’s perfect, but in class, not so much ~ very frustrating.
What blows my mind is when they say that they don’t want to disappoint me, what they don’t understand is they are my heroes. Working fulltime, raising families, living life and trying to carve out 30 minutes a day to practice takes a huge commitment and a lot of passion.
Being successful is a matter of perspective, when students compare their playing to mine this is what I tell them.
- I started playing when I was 15 years old, there was no internet, only 3 channels on the television, no video games, no distractions. (Put down the electronics and pick up your instrument.)
- I took lessons from a teacher who never taught me theory, instead he taught me songs, which is probably the only reason I continued. (Practice what you want to play.)
- My mother loved to listen to me play, so I had a captive audience. (Play for your family and friends.)
- I took my guitar everywhere, like a security blanket. (Get a Travel Guitar)
- I was lucky enough to find an agent who booked me for 7 years, 5 nights a week, 4 hours a night (Be ready for unexpected opportunities.)
- I’ve played with other musicians, having to learn to listen and prepare (Play with other musicians every chance you get.)
- I practice with a metronome to improve my rhythm (Do the basics)
- I pick up my guitar everyday, even if it’s just to say “Hi” and “Thank you” (Making music is a sacred trust, Bless the poets.)
- I’m a rhythm/percussive guitarist, so I study their techniques (Practice, Practice, Practice)
- I run scales, even though I hardly use them (Learn everything you can, even if you don’t use it.)
- I teach, which forces me to learn songs that I don’t know (Get out of your comfort zone.)
- I study theory, a constant journey ~ the piano helps a lot (Check out Youtube videos)
- I play live gigs, keeps me motivated and gives me deadlines (If you can’t book a full gig, then hit up your local Open Mic venues.)
- I go to live shows to listen and learn (Support Live Music Always!)
- I change my own strings as an act of love (Learn how to care for your instrument.)
- I keep my music in a book, easy access (Organization saves time, eliminates frustration)
- Be Gentle with your self (allow your inner child to learn, cast out the critical parent)
- Practice, Breathe, Repeat
If you’re struggling with motivation, self doubt, have questions, I’m here, If I can do it, so can you. Traveling together is more fun ~ so reach out. The world of music is waiting for you. #girlwithguitar
Today’s Musing: “Be your own artist, and always be confident in what you’re doing.
If you’re not going to be confident, you might as well not be doing it.” – Aretha Franklin