First of all, believe in yourself and the powers of DECISION and DETERMINATION.
A friend recently asked me about how to pick up a violin again after not playing for years. Yes, it is possible, and yes, it will be AWESOME. This is especially for the many adults who frequent the passage, “O I wish I had learned an instrument,” or “It’s just been too many years.” Here’s some advice, which I myself have taken and continue to take for life as there is always another level in music- another height of mastery, another instrument, another song. At least feel happy with the level where you are, and feel happy in all the process of improving. I hope this will be helpful to many aspiring musicians…
1. Seek the company of musicians who are better than you.
Find people to play with and get a teacher! Through the miracle of symbiosis, it somehow happens that when we practice or play with those who have talents and skills surpassing our own, we get to absorb some of those qualities. I learned this from playing with Mr. Tom Hunter from Minnesota last week in Homer, Alaska. We were both visiting in town with instruments at the ready, of course always ready to rock it. (That’s also important- be ready to seize those moments to jam when they come.)
2. Listen to your favorite music and play along.
This is especially helpful for those who aren’t yet feeling comfortable enough with their instrument for the company of an audience- or even for the company of other musicians. I learned djembe from jamming in the living room with Bob Marley and later took it to the circle. This is also a large part of how I am currently studying piano.
Study the parts – scales, arpeggios, favorite licks, circle of fifths, aperture, posture, breath. You might feel bland or even embarrassed doing it, but as a great pianist once told me as I was running major scales very loudly on the saxophone, “everybody’s gotta do it.” These are the foundational tools you need now in order to create those eventual nuances and subtleties that are going to sing out naturally. Do it for your soon to be audience! Do it for your Mom! Do it for yourself! Everyday. 30 minutes.
4. Listen & Absorb.
Listen to your favorite tunes and get inspired. Absorb the parts you like so deep that they become etched in there somewhere- your musical ideals. They will come out in the song, just like everything we read, study & hear ends up in varied combinations of what we then express.
How to apply this to anything – you do the math. Replace music with whatever else.
This is my brother and I meeting up for the first time in 3 years – jammin. He’s an AMAZING juggler because he practices EVERY DAY! In the background you can see the Olympics – those who also started out not being Olympians…