In a busy, fast moving world filled with a variety of activities and opportunities, it’s understandable that music sometimes gets pushed aside. We often get preoccupied with other things in our lives, especially things our society and culture tend to value more than music. It’s incredibly unfortunate that making music isn’t always seen as important, when in reality music is physically and mentally beneficial for both musicians and their listeners. This raises the question – how can we adjust this view?
Breaking the Misconception
Sadly, there is no quick solution to bringing classical music and its affiliates back into the forefront of society like it was in previous centuries. As with anything else, it’s a misconception that will not only take time to break, but it will also require patience and persistence. It’s important to not sacrifice our own music making in order to fit in with other people, but rather to continue to enjoy music and to spread that joy to others in our social circles.
How to Overcome Putting Music on the Back Burner
As for overcoming the tendency to push music aside for other things, each musician must pull strength and conviction to make it a priority. They can’t simply want to practice more and spend more time with their music, they have to harness their will power and make a consistent effort to do so. In short: mind over matter.
Mind Over Matter
Paulette Sun Davis wrote four ways of utilizing the power of mind over matter.
- Look into what’s possible.
- Stretch your thinking.
- Believe that you can do it.
Perhaps the most important method of prioritizing music is deciding to do it in the first place. Without having the desire to pursue music and strengthening the conviction to make it happen, it will be difficult for anyone to give valued attention to making music.
2. Look Into What’s Possible
Once someone has made a conscious decision to make music a priority, they then have to consider what that will look like in their daily life. We all have different lives and different responsibilities, and so how one person prioritizes music may not be how another does. The point of making music a priority isn’t to burden or stretch oneself thin, it’s to enjoy music and pursue whatever musical goals one may have. Which means it’s vital to be realistic about one’s time, resources, and limitations. Make a plan that will work – look through your own weekly schedule and decide how much time you are capable of spending on music and make reasonable goals for yourself.
3. Stretch Your Thinking
While it’s necessary for musicians to be realistic in their plans and goals, it’s also important that they don’t underestimate themselves and their abilities. Part of being a musician is pushing past the limits we set for ourselves out of doubt and fear of failure. Don’t practice for perfection – practice for progress.
4. Believe That You Can Do It!
Above all else – believe in yourself! Musicians often feel they are under scrutiny, and that can cause them to not want to practice out of fear of being judged. When we focus on the music and how it affects our emotions, and then use those emotions to inspire the music, our music silences the doubts that try to pull us down. On days where we struggle with something in our music, it’s all right to walk away for a while, take a deep breath, and then try again with a new focus and intention.
Make it Happen
There are plenty of excuses we can make to try to justify avoiding practicing or playing music, but when those excuses come to mind, take a step back and think about music. Think about how it makes you feel; about a time you loved playing, either by yourself or with some friends. Listen to a recording of a song that inspires you. Instead of letting your fear take control, allow your love for music to motivate you to make music a priority.