David A. Powers

Five Conditions for Musical Success: Part 1

Sun, Jan 25, 2015 2:31 PM

For growth to occur in any situation, certain conditions must be met. A seed requires good soil, water, and sunlight to sprout. A fire cannot grow into a consuming blaze without heat, oxygen, and fuel. It is no different in the realm of music. Any musician who is seeking to achieve greater mastery of their art needs to ensure they are building on a solid foundation. In this post, I am going to examine three elements that are vital for any musician to consider: mindset, practice, and space.

Cultivating a Correct Mindset

To progress as a musician, it is important to adopt a mindset conducive to growth. While human babies tend to learn in a natural manner, older individuals often adopt attitudes that inhibit learning. Fear of failure, inability to take risks, and anxiety about what others think can all paralyze the learning process. However, cultivating a non-judgmental attitude towards your playing helps you unleash your natural creative energy.

I believe it is unhealthy to view music as a contest where there are winners and losers. Even the pursuit of excellence, while positive in itself, can lead to an unhealthy mindset. The quest for musical mastery becomes toxic when it is divorced from a passion for music. Ultimately, I believe music should be enjoyed for its own sake. We experience the joy of music fully only when we open our hearts and let go of our egos.

Practicing Consistently

Regardless of your natural ability, musical progress cannot occur without consistent practice. The key to achieving consistency is having control over one's schedule. Practice sessions should be realistically integrated into your day. They should be free from interruptions, and of sufficient length. There is no doubt that achieving this in the age of digital devices and social media can be tough. But when you practice consistently, you will be amazed at the speed with which you progress.

A Space Conducive to Learning

When you examine your practice routine, pay attention to how your practice space is set up. A space that minimizes distraction is crucial. Start by turning off your television and digital devices before you practice.

You also want to make sure that you feel comfortable in your practice space. Take into account the aesthetics of the space you are using. Your practice space should get you in the mood to make music, and stimulate feelings of peace and happiness.