Effective Techniques for Music Students to Beat Frustration and Excel
The musician’s journey can be both immensely rewarding and incredibly frustrating. Just like many things in life, pushing through these frustrating moments is a journey well worth taking. Over the years, I have encouraged my students to try a variety of techniques to navigate those challenges, plateaus and frustrations. Some have worked better than others, but here are the top techniques that have had the biggest impact on making those struggles a little bit easier.
1. Embrace Patience
Mastering an instrument is a complex process of enhancing your ear, learning to read music and developing new coordinations in your body. It is not the type of thing that happens over night and progress is often slow. You may find yourself or your child hitting plateaus or struggling with certain techniques. Know that every musician faces these challenges and with resilience, time and patience, you too will overcome them.
2. Break It Down
It is so easy to feel overwhelmed when you are tackling a new piece or challenging passage. The best thing you can do is to take a breath and break it down. Instead of trying to learn an entire song in one sitting, focus on learning a small section. Not only is this more manageable, but once you master the first step, it will motivate you to tackle the next section.
3. Seek Guidance from Your Teacher
Don’t hesitate to talk to your teacher if you are getting stuck or feeling frustrated. They are a wealth of information and may have the exact solution you need to get you over the hump.
4. Celebrate Achievements
It’s all about our perspective. Often, we’re so focused on what we’re not able to do that we forget to celebrate our achievements along the way. Take time to acknowledge and celebrate your progress, no matter how small it may seem. You may realize that you’re simply being too hard on yourself. That shift in perspective could be the very thing you need to overcome your current hurdle.
5. Embrace Mistakes and Messy Learning
My students know that I love it when their voice cracks in lessons. Why? Because it means they are taking risks and trying new things. Learning is messy. Every beautiful mistake is one step closer to mastery.
The next time you think you don’t have what it takes to be a musician, take a breath and come back to this list. Try these techniques and see how much easier these icky moments can be.
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