Overcoming Challenges of Self Improvement By Learning a Musical Instrument

Overcoming Challenges of Self Improvement By Learning a Musical Instrument

When learning a musical instrument it can become increasingly difficult to strive towards becoming better and improving on your chosen instrument. There are plenty of challenges and brick walls we face when learning an instrument so I will outline these challenges and gives you a few tips and steps you cal follow to overcome the challenges of improving in your instrument and eventually becoming the best you can possibly be.

  1. Self-Criticism > Self-Acceptance: When I first started studying music, I was incredibly self-critical and very unhappy with my musical abilities. I had a lot of bad habits when it came to my instrument playing (particularly piano) but d I slowly learned to correct these and accept that there is no such thing as musical perfection.
  2. Impatience > Patience: I am very goal-oriented as a musician. I love making goals, and I love working towards them. But developing the musical ability is a process that can’t be rushed. It takes time, patience, and steady work. Almost daily, I have to reconcile my tendency to want to charge ahead with the reality that growing as a musician is a rather slow process.
  3. Tension > Physical Freedom: I’ve struggled with physical tension since my teenage years, but learning different musical instruments has forced me to confront it.  For example when it comes to singing lessons, some teachers will say, “You have to be relaxed to sing.” While this is generally true, the reality is that certain muscles (the abdominal and other muscles that support the breath) need to be engaged, while others (the muscles of the neck, for example) need to be relaxed. A combination of singing, yoga, and Fitzmaurice Voicework has helped me learn to balance energy with relaxation.
  4. Training the Mind: Musicians are the ultimate multitaskers. Just to make a musical instrument work, we have to do a million physical and mental things at once. Add repertoire, and it just gets worse: suddenly we’re thinking about rhythms, pitches, text (both pronunciation and meaning), and emotion. If we’re playing in a theatrical production, even more challenges arise. Of course, it’s impossible to think of all these things at once. We have to isolate them and work on them piece by piece until certain elements become unconscious. I have taken up mindfulness meditation to help myself calm my mind and focus my thoughts.

Check out our Music School if you are interested in becoming a better musician.

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