6 Mantras for successful music learning

Posted by Pratibha Sarathy on 15 Dec 2016

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Many of us set out to learn music. But how many of us make it close to the finish line? Some students start enthusiastically but lose motivation midway. In this blog I share 6 key aspects that can better prepare you to handle this journey of music learning.

1. Choose your teacher wisely: - This is the first step towards effective music learning. Choosing the right teacher/institute decides the rest of your journey as a musician. Some people tend to choose the teacher who lives nearby, some choose a teacher who is popular in the area. But a passionate music learner must look beyond these peripheral factors and identify the true credibility of the teacher or academy. The ironic aspect of music learning is that a student may not even realise that he/she is on the wrong track for several years. So ensure that you are aware of your teacher's profile and credentials and obtain a recommendation from a professional musician or academy.

2. Commit to the teacher and trust him/her: - Once you have found your teacher/institute, commit to following his/her methods. A frequent mistake made by students is to keep questioning the teacher's methods, thereby interfering in the learning process. In today's day and age, I come across students who perceive music lessons more as a corporate 'service' and themselves as customers rather than students. This prompts them to critically analyse the methods of the teacher and voice their opinion about it. Unfortunately this is detrimental to the student and hinders the learning process. The old fashioned student-teacher bond is very important for good results. One must respect their methods and place trust in them to benefit most.

3. Be aware about the reality of the learning journey: - We often get attracted by professional singers because they seem to be singing with so much ease! So we sometimes tend to think that learning music is as easy as it looks. Well, that's far from the truth! Effortless singing is not actually effortless. It takes years of sincere practice and training to be able to sing effortlessly. You would have to work step by step and face possible hardships and disappointments during the journey. The journey is far from easy and you must be mentally prepared for the toil if you wish to see results!

4. Make efforts proportional to your targets: - I have interacted with prospective students who have ambitious targets to become a great singer quite quickly. Well, nothing is impossible, and it's great to be determined! But it's important to know that the voice can never be forced to transform in a hurried manner, no matter how great the teacher or student may be. So as a student of music, you should let the voice take its natural course and put in the required amount of practice to ensure that you see faster results without any pressure. Students who put pressure on the teacher to speed up their teaching or push their voice without gradual training, often feel frustrated due to insufficient practice and the wrong attitude.

5. Enjoy the journey: - We often get so focused on reaching the destination that we forget to enjoy the ride that leads up to it. Every stage of music learning is beautiful and unfolds a new skill in a singer. We must enjoy the experience and let it reach our body, mind and soul. The end result should only be an inspiration and not blind you from appreciating the journey.

6. Never get competitive: - Music is something very personal and self inspiring. It is not required to compete with a peer in order to feel accomplished. Competitive learning often leads to students following shortcuts, or reducing their standards depending on the competition. While you may participate in music competitions, the aim should be to give a perfect flawless performance, and not to beat your peers.