Image by Alessandro Diesse from PixabayWe all have things we think we’d like to do or have. We set goals and sometimes they happen, sometimes they don’t, and often, it doesn’t really matter. And if a goal does come to pass it may not be life-changing like we imagined. But, if you want something bad enough… you have to do something different. There are other goals that won’t happen just by wanting them or giving it a half-ass try. If you want something bad enough… you have to take the necessary steps to bring it to pass. It takes work. It takes planning. Simply wanting something usually doesn’t make it happen. You need to make a plan. Put some thought into the steps needed to make it happen. Write it down – it’s always easier to stick to the plan when you write it down then you can cross it off your list. These steps are good for any project you want to do. But, let’s get to the primary project, learning to play guitar.
Obstacles in Learning to Play GuitarThis applies to any instrument you might want to learn to play, but I’ve chosen the guitar as an illustration. As I mentioned in my last article, Learning To Play An Instrument, I was only four years of age when I started taking classical piano lessons, at my mother’s insistence. I didn’t know anything about setting goals or making plans. My role was to practice what the teacher gave me to practice. I took lessons until well into my teenage years and played off and on during my early adult years. I could do what needed to be done. But I wasn’t even close to being a good pianist, not to mention, a master pianist. My husband, Larry, is a guitarist and singer/songwriter, who is very good. When we started trying to play together I had to face the fact that I was just okay. If I was going to accompany him I would have to set some musical goals with the steps to reach those goals. I had to do some soul searching to determine if I liked playing well enough to invest the time and energy to reach my goal. It would have taken a substantial amount of work to even get close to his level of proficiency. Instead, I chose to put my time and energy into writing. With my training, I’m still part of our musical effort, but as you see, I’d rather write about it.
The Biggest ObstacleSo, the biggest obstacle in becoming a great guitarist or master musician on any instrument is not learning the techniques for a particular instrument or learning music theory. The biggest problem, as in my case, is not making the commitment to doing what needs to be done to accomplish your mastery. First of all, you have to make the commitment to doing whatever is needed to make it happen. You have to be willing to invest the time and energy into the music rather than, perhaps, partying with friends or watching your favorite TV show.
Get SeriousWhen we take a serious look at what is ahead, it may be overwhelming or even intimidating. But focusing on the issue will not help you reach mastery.
- It all starts with setting your musical goals.
- Get an online or personal teacher who will take you one step at a time.
If You Want Something Bad Enough??With either a face-to-face or online teacher you will be given the steps to get you to music mastery. But you will have to take those steps, one step at a time. You will have to invest the time and energy, as mentioned above. The question is, Do You Want It Bad Enough? I can see some of you pause to think about that question. You are wondering if you will have a personal life at all. No, you will not have to practice all day, every day. You won’t even need to practice 6, 8, or 10 hours every day. Wanting It Bad Enough does mean making good choices. Yes, you may have to give up partying with your friends or sitting in front of the TV for hours at a time. You will need to make some decisions that will get you to your goal. It will be worth it!!
Change Your MindsetWhen we allow negative thoughts about ourselves or, in this case, about achieving our musical goals the negative thoughts can become self-fulfilling. We can also talk ourselves into believing the positive, which leads to seeing our musical goals fulfilled. Adopt a positive “Can Do” mindset about your practice and your progress instead of a pessimistic, negative mindset. For example: “I’d Like To” – Mental Poison “I Can Do This” – Mental Nutrition “I don’t have the time or energy to practice. “I can invest the time and energy” “It’s too hard to get up early to practice” “I’ll go to bed earlier so I can get up.” “I’d like to be taught by a top guitarist.” “I can get a top guitarist as a teacher.” “I’m not disciplined enough to do this.” “I can have fun and be disciplined.” “I don’t know if I can be a great guitarist.” “I can become a great guitarist.”
Confess Positive ThoughtsIt’s not only important to change your mindset, it’s just as important to say these ideas out loud. These are just examples of what you might say to yourself. It is important that you repeat them out loud, loud enough so your ears can hear them. When we say them out loud, it’s kind of magical, but it registers more in our brains. Write down the negative thoughts about yourself or about your accomplishing your musical goals. Then, like above, write out the positive statements or affirmations. Design these positive statements to help you challenge and overcome any self-sabotaging, negative thoughts that keep you from accomplishing your musical or other goals. When you repeat the affirmations out loud you begin to believe them. When you start believing them you start making positive changes. It is important to say your positive affirmations about music. But just as important, or maybe, more importantly, you must invest the time and energy and “Do The Work.”
Get Rid Of Toxic ThoughtsOur minds are often like children, disobedient children. We tell our minds that “we aren’t going to think those negative thoughts anymore, we’re going to think positive thoughts.” We may even tell ourselves, “stop thinking that you’ll never be a great guitarist.” Your mind talks back, “are you talking to me? Why should I stop thinking negative thoughts? I’ll do what I want to do.” With a disobedient child, we will disciple them. We might sit them in the corner, or take privileges away or even spank them. But, how are you going to do that to your mind? It’s not going to happen. Using direct force to change your mind rarely, if ever, works. You can’t say, “mind, change that thought,” and get it to work. Your mind doesn’t listen and obey. So how do you deal with it? We have to ‘trick” our minds. One way that has proven to be effective is to use symbolism and rituals. Because most of our thinking is subconscious, conscious thinking, reasoning, and logic often do not work. Self-improvement methods will only take you so far.
How to Trick Your MindThe use of symbolism and rituals plants thoughts and suggestions into your subconscious mind without being direct. The direct approach will almost always be rejected. And you can count on demands being rejected without any consideration – just like a rebellious child. Here is a very simple method that really works:
- Take the paper that contains your negative thoughts
- Tear the paper into little pieces
- Place them in a large ashtray, a bucket, or fireplace (either inside or outside)
- Grab a match or a lighter
- Take the pieces of paper, the ashtray, or bucket outside (unless you’re using an indoor fireplace)
- Set it on fire
- Stand and watch it burn until it’s gone