It’s one thing to decide to learn an instrument, it’s another to stick with the process until you’re skilled enough that you can play without thinking. There are plenty of reasons our enthusiasm can start to wane – and sometimes there are very real, practical reasons we put our instruments aside.
Here are some reasons we commonly hear from our users as to why they’re struggling to stay motivated. We’ve faced all of these personally too, so it’s important to feel that you’re not alone in this.
Combating these is the only real barrier to you shooting for the musical stars, staying on your learning journey, and above all having a fun and rewarding experience.
What holds us back?
I don’t have enough time
Life can get busy, and it’s easy to feel like learning music is a luxury – which quite often means it’s the first to drop off a person’s to-do list. But even five minutes per day can lead to progress. In fact, frequent chunks of deliberate practice can be more effective than infrequent but lengthy practice sessions.
Daily warm-ups, short exercises, practicing a small loop, or even attempting just the first step in a lesson are easy ways to dip into Melodics for quickfire sessions, regardless of how busy you are. It’s good to remember too that giving your creative self some time to flex can make for better energy and focus when juggling those real-life priorities.
If you’re struggling with time, but still want to keep up a consistent practice routine; check out our 7 quick things to practice in a lunchbreak.
I’m afraid of making mistakes
We get it, no one likes the sound of a bum note – and watching those little Melodics icons turn every colour but green can be a defeating feeling! But mistakes are a natural part of learning, no matter how long you’ve been playing or how much of a pro (or newbie) you are.
Continuing to challenge yourself in new ways is essential if you want to keep levelling up. Melodics’ live feedback function makes it easy, by highlighting the small adjustments that will help you hone your game.
Flipping the narrative so that you associate mistakes and challenges with growth – and address them rather than shrink away from them – will free you up to enjoy the learning process and stick with it.
Failure isn’t a thing at Melodics, rather, there’s an opportunity to identify areas to work on with laser-like accuracy, and help you reset and sharpen your approach. Knowing where you mistakes are is a blessing, so, embrace them, and consider them part of discovering a clear path to progress.
There’s no finish line in the learning journey and that’s a great thing.
I don’t know where to start
Self-directed learning can be a daunting process, especially if you’re used to learning from a human teacher. If you’re struggling to find a place to start within Melodics, try one of our courses.
Check out our Courses page, which features clearly themed groups of lessons based around related learning objectives, and focus on things like specific skills, iconic sounds, and basic theory.
Some favourites include the Major & Minor Triads course for keys, and the Building Up Drum Grooves course for pads (or for drummers here).
Taking it a step further, the Melodics Guided Path provides a curated walkthrough of some of our fundamental courses, ensuring you’ve built a solid foundation for pads, keys or drums for you to be more comfortable exploring by yourself afterwards.
For more tips on getting started with Melodics, have a read of this.
My practice sessions are inefficient and unproductive
Do you find you default to the familiar, and repeat the same activity every time you sit down to practice?
Making a plan beforehand and keeping a progress journal can help to keep you moving forward and maximising the time you have to devote to learning. Write a list of things you’d like to achieve within a certain timeframe, and keep notes about your progress, including any blocks. Spend some time focussing on addressing these – rather than skipping ahead before you’re ready just because it’s more fun in the short term.
If you find you keep getting distracted, make use of your ‘favourite’ button, which you can use to save lessons that appeal to you to a playlist. Come back to them later and you’ll dive in and engage with the task at hand with far less kerfuffle.
I spend too much time getting my environment ‘just right’, and run out of time to actually practice
The obvious answer to this one is to dedicate a spot in your home or office to music, and leave your gear set up just how you like it so that you can dip in for any length of practice time.
But let’s be honest: having a dedicated music-space isn’t possible for everyone!
So we suggest a simple shift of perspective: rather than feeling like you have to be totally in the zone to practice, occasionally allow yourself to think of practice as something to tick off the to-do list, like doing some exercise or having a shower. Sit down, plug in and play for however long you can – even if the room’s a mess, and the lighting isn’t quite right. You might find you end up in your flow state anyway 😉
We’ve designed Melodics so you can easily plug in and play, and we’re always working to remove any barriers (both in- or out-of-app) that might slow our users down – such as growing our ever-expanding list of supported instruments, releasing our app for iPad. Got any suggestions? Share it with us here.
I keep overcomplicating it
It’s easy to get stuck in the weeds when learning music; we get deep in the theory, and intellectualise something that should be feeding and feeding from our creative energy. Don’t get us wrong, theory is important – and learning the ‘rules’ of music can help free you up to play with, or break, them later on.
But if you’re finding your learning journey is getting a bit dry, letting yourself have a good old fashioned muck-around can help bring the joy back.
Make a playlist of tunes you love, and play along to them for the sheer joy of it –and don’t worry whether you’re doing it perfectly. Remember, music is supposed to be fun, and reminds you why you’ve picked up an instrument in the first place. Playing for fun keeps you in the game.
I love performing, but find it hard to motivate myself to practice
It’s easy to get caught up in the enigma of music and forget that, actually, the greatest performers work really hard to make it look easy when they’re on stage. If you take the time to practice you’ll be more confident and relaxed when performing, and your audiences will notice the difference. Sure, it’s way more fun enjoying the fruits of your labour, than doing the labour itself, but Melodics offers a sweet in-between: you get to practice by playing along with tunes you enjoy, and we’re adding new lessons all the time so it never gets boring.
For more on achieving your musical goals, check out this great piece on Habit Hacking.