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Tag Archives: Motivation

Build and destroy. Do it like a kid.

Today at the playground with my kids. They build sandcastles like maniacs, with total devotion, not noticing anything that goes on around them. After they’re done, what do they do? They destroy everything.

“Why do you do that?” I hear someone say.

Here’s why. Because it’s not about having the castle. It’s about building it. Kids learn by building things. They then destroy everything so they can build (=learn) some more.

When do we get trained to think that it’s better to have things instead of creating things?

Create and learn. Start now.

Who’s holding you back?

Steven Pressfield tells us that “a professional acts in the face of fear” and that amateurs think they must first overcome their fears to do great work. He goes on to say that “fear can never be overcome” and the professional knows it. He knows it and acts on it, not letting fear intervene with the work that has to be done.

Musicians have work to do. Make music, compose, write lyrics, arrange, practice etc. You let fear (or anyone and anything for that matter) intervene you loose. And everytime you let fear win and hold you back from creating your art, it will be more likely to win again and again.

So, what’s your fear?

Who’s holding you back?

You knwo the answer.

You are!

Act in the face of fear.  Start creating your art TODAY!

Practice Music like a Marathoner

I like running. I run 4-5 times a week. A while ago I got bored with it because I had been running for years but didn’t see any development. I was always on the same pace, no changes in weight or muscle tone. So I started to read about how to train and quickly learned why I didn’t make any progress. Now it seems so logical and I’m embarrased to not have come up with the solution myself. I ran the same 3 miles, same pace, same everything every time I went out on the track. Same material over and over. I hit a cap.

So I switched up the material. I started to do long runs, tempo runs, speed work, sprints, and some cross training to make my running more interesting and to get better results.

Within a couple of weeks I was able to run 15 miles without feeling overly fatigued, without muscle pains or insuries. I learned to run longer and faster, I’m in better shape and I lost a couple of pounds, too.

On my yearly physical the doctor told me I was actually younger than 3 years ago, meaning my body is in better shape now.

One thing stayed the same, though. I run. It’s what I love to do. I didn’t take up swimming, or cycling, or power yoga because I’m just not good and interested in doing these things. I run.

I only chose to switch up the material to get better results.

Focus on your strenghts

The idea here is to learn to focus on what you can do instead of what you can’t do (or what you’re not interested in). Usually, when you take a music lesson your teacher will tell you what you can’t do so you get aware of it. Once you know it you can work on making it go away. Wrong.

What it does, it shifts your focus on the things you can’t do and teaches you to develop a pattern of only seeing the things you can’t do.

It creates a lot of negative air.

Don’t learn based on negatives.

Instead, develop a mindset of looking at the things you really can do, things you’re interested in, things you really want to put 150% of your energy into.

Learn based on your positives.

Focus on the positives in your playing. Multiply those positives and don’t care about the negatives.

It is counter intuitive, but it works!

“This will lead to only practicing what you can already do and it will not lead to developing new skills!” is what I get in response. Wrong again!

To learn new things all you have to do is you need to work on challenging material. It’s not a matter of mindset. If you’re in the negative, new material seems harder than it is. New material triggers fear in most musicians. “Oh, man, I’m never going to be able to play THAT!” Why not?

Just focus on what you can already do. Practice new material with the focus on what you’ve got and expand from there in small steps.

Focus on your strengths. The flaws will seem smaller and the so called hard material will start to look a lot more friendly.

The only thing you have to do to prevent circling in your own comfort zone is to choose challenging and/or new material to forego hitting a cap.

Switch it up, keep it interesting.


Photography by Clive Flint on a Creative Commons License