Can I Really Be Great At Music?
1. Sowing Your Seeds!Plant a seed in flat fertile ground that receives plenty of sunlight, rain and shelter from strong wind, then the seed should grow tall, straight and strong.
If you plant the same seed on an escarpment exposed to ravaging winds, without much sun and water, the seed will probably grow, but it will end up being crooked, not as big and certainly not as strong. However, a botany lecture this is NOT.
2. Conditions For GrowthWhat this strange metaphor is trying to convey is that conditions for growth are hugely important. What growth I hear you ask, I am already fully developed! Physically maybe, but the brain yearns to be challenged to keep on growing, firing neurons and forging new connections.
So let’s talk about musical growth and pick up the scenario of the seed again i.e. you and the little compartment that has been reserved for embracing all of that goodness that is ingested from music learning!
3. Fertile Ground!OK, granted, you are no longer a seed; perhaps you are already a sprouting bush, or an intertwined green ivy climbing all over a trellis, perhaps even a prickly cactus or a magnificent towering oak, so how can you possibly relate to a seed? You want proactive growth and not regression!
Back to botany class! If you’re some kind of flora (and not margarine), or woody perennial plant, you will release pollen or seeds into the breeze to ensure your family tree remains rooted in the forest floor.
4. Germinate or ExterminateSo let’s refer to your seed as a dormant and neutral learning capsule. You have many of them all ready to be germinated with different knowledge categories.
Learning music, no matter what your preconceived notions about theory might be, could seem to be like a game of chance in relation to where your seed might land. If the wind is too strong and it lands in a pond, you’re going to have a hard time getting it to sprout, plus it’ll be open to attack from above and beneath the water.
But good news is at hand! You can choose where the music germinating seed will land, and how embedded it should become before allowing it to sprout properly, or plucking it out and starting again in another patch of grass!! “But how?” you ask.
5. Branching OutThe ground, sun, wind and rain form your "home environment".
For the music seed to grow, you need to learn assuredly in a calm and peaceful atmosphere. You will also require a relatively healthy ecosystem which equates to regular sunlight and rainfall to nurture the seedling:
Rainfall - regular and careful practice of material to nourish the soil and provide a strong foundation from which the seed can sprout.
Sunlight - exposure to new and interesting material to encourage the seedling to reach higher and higher, thus growing tall in the process.
Wind - you don’t want to be blasted by the distraction of phones, screens and noisy people vying for your attention. An occasional gentle breeze of encouragement from others can be helpful to gain strength and confidence!
Ground - There is no point grabbing random pockets of time here and there and rushing through the fundamentals of music. They will never get grounded properly and you will just be a witness to false progress only to see it come crashing down around your ears. There has to be order and purpose.
6. A Manner of SpeakingYou spent a long time learning how to speak (and understand when being spoken to), so why on earth do you imagine that the language of music can be mastered in a few weeks or months.
The level to which you aspire is down to you and how much you invest in yourself, not financially, but in time and effort.
Just getting the basics right will enable you to be very creative with a minimum amount of vocabulary.
- Time to grow – this should be a relaxed, stress free process that unfolds naturally. There was never any pressure in your formative years about learning to speak. Your grasp of language came naturally through play. So, PLAY with music too, it’s incredibly good for you and very rewarding. Its "payback" is scientifically proven too!
- You should also sprinkle a healthy dose of effort into your learning. Any household plant blooms with proper nurturing or withers if left unattended! Nurturing yourself by your endeavour to assign proper time and care into your development will allow you to blossom. Quality learning and practice, even if you tread the “little and often” path, will work. The more you invest, the more you will progress, as long as you don’t rush your natural evolution.
7. A Material WorldThe richness of the soil is the quality of the material that you use to learn.
The choice of teacher, course material, or self learning path that you adopt, will ultimately affect how straight, tall and strong your music plant will be.
If you do not connect with your teacher, then stop. If the course isn’t working for you, then stop. BUT, before you stop, be honest with yourself. Is the problem to do with you rather than the teacher or the course?
A lot of self discipline is required. Music can be fun, but it ain’t a big jolly all of the time. A lot of graft has to go in if you wish to reap the rewards.
8. Reap what you sow!Trust me when I say that the rewards are worth it. Again, I’m not talking financially here. I am talking about the sheer ecstasy of composing your own music, of being involved in that organic process, improvising at will and connecting with your higher self, which incidentally is an incredibly cathartic experience. Like I said, it is beneficial on multiple levels – psychologically, physically and spiritually.
9. Standing TallThe initial sowing of the seed is the most important part. Get that bit right and you have every chance to grow into the kind of organism you want. I did, and my previous learning experiences in music were awful, but I uprooted, found my own patch of soil from which to grow and have never looked back.
Now as I look out over the tops of the trees in the forest and feel how strongly I am rooted in musical manure (good stuff that), I am glad I toughed it out when I needed to and I’m happy that I experienced the negative side of learning (at school and through private piano lessons when I was young). Why? Because I have created a positive side to learning which I now take huge pride and pleasure in showing to others.
10. A Life Learning ExperienceNo matter what kind of experience you have had previously, you have many seeds to germinate, so one can always start planting afresh. Learning is a state of mind – one can be reprogrammed into a different way of thinking and it’s a lot simpler than you may think. It is something that I have achieved personally, so I really can say that I have the t-shirt, baseball cap and the experience to show how one should approach music learning.
Many of the insights I have had regarding music are also extremely valuable and productive in other areas of life. So my t-shirt and baseball cap really can be categorized as “one size that fits all”....
So come and get “green fingers” on a Hotwired Learning Experience. You will see firsthand how appetising, nourishing and boomingly good fun music learning can be!