“One of the commonest mistakes and one of the costliest is thinking that success is due to some genius, some magic – something or other which we do not possess. Success is generally due to holding on, and failure to letting go. You decide to learn a language, study music, take a course of reading, train yourself physically. Will it be success or failure? It depends upon how much pluck and perseverance that word “decide” contains. …. Remember the Chinese proverb, “With time and patience, the mulberry leaf becomes satin. With time and patience the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown.”" Maltbie Davenport Babcock
Learning music is similar to exploring another land. It has its own language, boarders which need to be crossed, a new culture to delve into and experiences that are sometimes joyous and uplifting, and sometimes just plain difficult. It would make things much easier if there was a Travel Guide to Music available, just like there is for all those other countries, but there isn’t one. Every person learning music has to work out the best way for themselves, with many different resources and teachers. This can be a long, and sometimes not very enjoyable process, so it’s no wonder many travellers just ‘dip their toes in’ and decide to return home.
If you chose to travel to a new country, however, and truly taste the wonders of all it had to offer, would you just hop into the nearest car or airplane and go, or would you take some time to prepare? Careful preparation does help you to make the best of the journey. So, how would you go about preparing? Here’s what I would do:
- Work out how to get there – Transport
- Work out where I want to go once I’m there – procure a Map
- Work out how to get around – Navigation
- Work out how to deal with possible pitfalls – Inside Knowledge
- Work out how I’m going to sustain my travel – Fuel
- Work out how to obtain day-to-day necessities – Supplies
Music Made Easy is based on this list of items, adapted for the learning of singing or playing an instrument:
1. Transport = How to Practise.
With effective practise you can get to where you want to go.
2. The Map = The Practise Diary
With this you will be able to see where you have been and where you are headed.
3. Navigation = Reflective Learning
This tool can help you to plan the best way to progress.
4. Inside Knowledge = The Inner Critic vs the Inner Musician
This information will show you how you can begin to let yourself create great music.
5. Fuel = Motivation
This will give you guidance on how to keep your motivation levels up in order to keep learning.
6. Supplies = Performing and Recording
These aspects are necessary to keep yourself happy and comfortable in music so that you can continue to play.
When travelling you can decide to just ‘scratch the surface’ of the place you are visiting or you can decide to spend some time absorbing everything it has to offer. You only need to follow the ‘tourist trail’ for the former and there are already many resources available which can help you there. This blog is intended for the latter, for those of you who wish to be intimate with music. It is designed to help make your exploration and learning of music easier, more attainable and fun, providing you with all the practical guidance that my personal ‘travels’ as a student and teacher of music has offered me. My hope is that not only newcomers, but also those of you who are currently ‘stuck’ or uninspired, or those of you, like myself, who have ‘stop-started’ in music, find this information helps you to continue, in a more exciting way, to create with sound. My fellow teachers of music will also be able to use this book as an aid to help develop the efficiency and enjoyment of their own teaching practice.
It helps to remember there is no ‘final destination’ in music. Your learning and will to continue depends upon you being able to appreciate and enjoy your ability at every stage. If you can manage this while meeting personal challenges, I have no doubt you will create authentic and expressive music capable of touching others and going beyond your own expectations.
Creating expressive music entails only one thing – the exploration and discovery of your Self, for it is there that great music resides. Here you will find yourself:
- confronting your Inner Critic – the voice which sometimes tells you to give up because you’re not good enough;
- working with sounds that make you uncomfortable and learning how to turn transform them;
- reflecting upon personal barriers and realising solutions to overcome them;
- discovering your weaknesses and your strengths;
- spending time with Music and being in no hurry to ‘get there’;
- learning to relax in the knowledge that you have the rest of your life to get better at what you do and that your learning and progress in music will never stop as long as you keep playing and developing at your own pace.
Everyone is capable of partaking in the creation of music and I think it is a great shame if you feel excluded from playing because you believe you “haven’t got enough talent” or you find learning “too hard” or “boring”. The truth is that with the right support, information and guidance, you can enjoy learning to sing and/or play an instrument, including this practice as an everyday activity to enhance your quality of life.
Finally, I would like you to know that Music Made Easy doesn’t end with these pages. If you have any questions or need any further information, explanations or wish to comment, please subscribe to this blog.
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