From zero to music hero: Picking up an instrument and sticking with it

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Malcolm Gladwell popularized the ‘ten thousand hour rule,’ which is the hypothesis that people need to spend that much time in deliberate practice in order to become an expert in a skill of their choosing. One of the fields that people are likely to associate with this rule is music.

Any people wish they could play a musical instrument. There’s enjoyment to be had in the act of playing for oneself and any person who can play well tends to be popular among peers. However, the hours of study required to achieve excellent credibility represent a wall that prevents many from turning their intent to actual skill. It isn’t easy to learn any instrument, but there are a few ways of obtaining the discipline required.

A good start would be to pick an instrument that you love, preferably one with a sound that you already appreciate hearing in songs. The temptation to give up early may be too great and should be countered with as much passion as you can muster.

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While practicing the basics, you should momentarily forget about the goal and focus on the present. Looking forward to being able to play competently is one thing but it could be discouraging to note just how far you have to go in order to reach that goal. Learning to enjoy the process of learning the instrument and looking positively at your mistakes are crucial to gaining motivation to keep at it.

You will not feel motivated to study all the time. Sometimes, other responsibilities will sap your willpower, which is why establishing a routine and building discipline are necessary to develop your skill in playing.

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For more articles about playing musical instruments, visit this Mark Begelman Twitter page.

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