The truth is when ever those phrases are uttered the teacher/musician is thinking to himself “If you practised as much as me then you would be musical and talented.
I think it’s sad that the majority of people think that they are excluded from learning an instrument because they believe that to learn one well you must have some sort of genetic disposition for it.
In fact the really talented players are also really talented at using their practice time to improve their skills on a constant basis.They just seem to practise smart and that may be where their real talent lies.
So what if you have made an attempt to learn an instrument but just didn’t make progress with it?
Here is what i would recommend.
1. Set yourself a weekly goal.
This should be according to your level of ability so even if it’s just learning a couple of chords if you are a beginner then that’s fine and make sure you write it down either on a post it on your fridge or as a reminder on your phone.This will reinforce your commitment.
2.Get into a routine.
Try and play at the same time every day so it becomes a habit.Switch of your Phone and T.V.Lock the kids in the garden but just make a window of time each day.
3.Practise in chunks if you can.
Our memories are much more effective when what we learn is done over a period of time rather that in one long session. So a half hour session each day will benefit you far more in terms of “muscle memory” and retaining information than one long session each week would .Even splitting a daily thirty minutes practice period into two fifteen minute sessions will gain you better results if you can do it.
Once you are meeting your weekly goals without fail then start thinking in the long term.Is there anything that you find particularly difficult? Are you learning from your mistakes? Then set a yearly goal that really excites you. This can be anything from learning a solo to writing a song but it must be something you would be proud to achieve.
5.Pick it up!
Okay, not if it’s a Piano but you know what i mean.Getting started can be the hardest thing of all.I keep a guitar on a stand right next to my chair in the front room.I guarantee you that you will play more if your instrument is out of it’s case and is staring you in the face as it were.
A small step each day will amount to a lot of distance over the years.
So go on,take it!