Updated: Mar 20, 2020
Most people are curious about learning how to make music at some point in their life. Have you ever sat down at a piano and attempted to play something? Or, picked up a guitar to strum a chord but didn’t know what to do? Maybe you've tried reaching for ‘the high note’ while singing along to your favorite song. How did it go? And, more importantly, what do you do next? Did you get excited and motivated about learning something new? Or, did you feel intimidated or embarrassed and walk away, hoping that no one heard you?
The Cambridge Dictionary defines the word curiosity as: “an eager desire to know or learn about something.” When it comes to the idea of learning to play music, what are you most curious about?
When I was young, I was genuinely curious about how the musical artists that I admired so much were able to do what they did. How did they make me feel something "in my soul”? Did they receive some sort of secret knowledge? Were they born with superior gifts? Did they possess some sort of superpower? I was genuinely curious.
Maybe you’ve wondered if you could ever learn to play the kinds of music that you enjoy listening to. If you have, you may have also felt a little afraid to try and do something about it. It is easy to come up with a list of reasons for not pursuing the things that we are genuinely interested in. We’ve all heard people use phrases like: “I’m tone deaf”, “I can’t carry a tune in a bucket” or “I’m rhythmically challenged.” When we compare ourselves with others who are further along in their journey, we may be tempted to avoid getting started. Unconsciously, we may allow the people who inspire us the most to stunt our own curiosity and growth.
Have you ever said to yourself, “I’ll never be as good as they are, so why should I even try?” Or, “I’m too old to try that now." Or, “I just don’t have what it takes." Most of us have said these types of things at some point. When we talk or think like that, we place unnecessary limits on our own potential.
Conversely, when we choose to respond positively to our natural musical curiosities, we start to change the game. When we give ourselves permission to pursue our personal interests, we naturally begin finding creative ways to learn. Just keep in mind that the personal ‘confidence’ part of music-making usually doesn’t show up until after we start taking some purposeful action.
How curious are you about learning to play music? Are you curious enough to seek out others who can help you- a mentor, a teacher, a coach or a collaborator? Are you open to pushing past your own fears to begin creating?
When I was first considering taking private voice lessons, a seasoned singer let me know that, “Good singing is about 5% talent and 95% hard work.” That was just what I needed to hear! Since I believed that anyone can work hard, I trusted that all I needed was the motivation to find a good teacher and a commitment to showing up and working hard at it over time.
I guessed that it would probably take some time before I developed some competence and confidence, but I'm glad I stuck with it! Thanks to my many music mentors’ willingness to share their knowledge and experience with me, I am now able to play the music that I was so curious about learning as a student. I believe you can get there too!
What are you genuinely curious about? What’s your next step? Are you ready to get started?