How To Keep Music In Your Life
How To Keep Music In Your Life:
How to cope with feeling overwhelmed and have fun getting better.
Part 1: The “Forrest Gump” effect:
Music is huge. To quote the great Jazz master and guru, Dr. Barry Harris: “Nobody played it all.” Music is as big and as deep as math, you just can’t do everything, but you can have a heck of a time trying to!
How do you integrate such a major undertaking as mastering music to an already busy life? This is the million-dollar question for a music teacher (actually, let’s call it the thousand-dollar question cause it’s music, not real estate). In my own lessons this was the one question my teacher couldn’t answer. She was a loving and supportive teacher, but very old school: “You just need to practice” and that was it. No consideration for my busy life as a pre teen, hanging out with my friends, playing “Space Invaders” on my Atari (and I don’t mean the nouveau-retro version either), daydreaming, and procrastinating on major school assignments.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t play. I was at the piano all the time, because music was my personal retreat. It was my very own place to let my imagination go; figuring out pop tunes, jamming out endlessly on two chord riffs, playing through already learned pieces I liked, etc. But here’s the key: If done right, playing IS practicing!
Experimentation and fun need to be integrated at every level, and just like “Space Invaders,” the more you play, the faster the little critters move across the screen, it gets harder, and . . . you like that – because you are playing, and the better you get the more fun you have!
So how then do we instill this passion into a child who needs to master their major scales when the sun is shining so nicely outside, or to ourselves for that matter?
The first thing is to silence that voice of negativity in our heads. We all know that voice, the one that says: “This is so overwhelming, I’ll never get it,” or “I can never be as good as so and so,” or “I have so much schoolwork (or work-work)”. Thoughts like these are never productive when trying to meet any challenge, and music is no exception. But with a little consistency and an open mind any challenge can be met.
As a matter of fact, you can get real results in a focused ten-minute practice session which can provide an invaluable retreat from your workload, which will in turn help achieve better results overall. The key is to achieve flow, and remove judgment. I call it the “Forrest Gump effect”: being able to achieve so much just by doing, without thinking about it too much.
Much more on this topic to come, as well as specifics on how to hone your practice technique to get the most out of it. Meanwhile, check out:
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By Isaac Raz, MAT, Founder and President Whole Music LLC. Pianist, Vocalist, Composer, and Teaching Artist. For more information about our unique approach and links to videos, resources, and great articles on the benefits of musical practice visit www.wholemusicllc.comand please don’t forget to Like us on Facebook