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"Pìoban Suas (Pipes Up)!" - What's the Secret?

Updated: Jul 9

As a musician, I often hear that people would love to play like I do but that it was too hard for them. They may have taken lessons as a kid and given up then, or they may have never really tried.

I believe that EVERYONE is capable of playing music and learning an instrument but the secret is patience.

1) You will not be perfect when you start.

2) People will expect you to be perfect when you start.

3) YOU will expect YOURSELF to be perfect when you start.

3) No matter what age or how far you have come, someone will be better than you; often at a younger age or with less experience.

4) Success is predicated on practice and dedication.

5) The rewards are endless.

They quit lessons, became convinced they were talentless and gave up the dream of music in frustration. The loss to the musical landscape is enormous. The loss of joy to individuals is tragic.

Often the joy gets sucked out of the experience when sheet music becomes involved. Incompressible scrolling on crazy lines with goofy symbols all combine to thwart our music and our children’s musical aspirations.

How do we fix it?

The fix is the focus on joy. The focus on fun and learning by doing. We can get to the mundane things in their own time. We can focus on learning fun riffs and runs and leave the sheet music till after we fall in love.

We are not belittling the necessity or sheet music nor are we saying to give up on it. We ARE saying that engagement, fun and enthusiasm trump outdated learning systems that kill joy.

So if it is children just learning or adults dipping their toes back in the water, we must focus on the joy. If they want to learn the blues, then let’s start with that. If they can only play from sheet music let’s start with that.

There are many types of musical languages and many approaches on how to learn music. If we focus on the individual and their desires we can maintain enthusiasm and happy excitement.

Then, once music is an actual part of their being, we can look at more serious lessons, if that is what they want. It is not our job to mould people into our teaching methodology, but for our methodology to mould itself into the individual’s preference.

When a student is ready a teacher appears, they say. Let’s ensure that teacher is humble enough to put the student’s desires first.