Being Patient with Yourself in the Learning Process
Updated: Feb 15, 2019
By: Wes Powers
Nowadays we tend to want things yesterday. Being patient, especially for young students or those acquiring new skills, can be a challenge.
For example, you can find out what year James Taylor’s Live album was recorded from a quick Google search but acquiring the musical skills needed to play and sing that music will take much longer. There was a lot of life lived, many miles traveled and a lot of notes sung and played by James and his band in order to create that masterpiece. By the way, he’s coming to play in Charleston very soon, May 15, with an outstanding band. Go check it out and be inspired!
There are many ways and things to practice when learning music like setting a regular practice schedule, arranging your practice time
to focus on different skills, using tried and true methods demonstrated by your teachers, using tools (like a metronome), paying attention
to your body (posture, movement, and breathing), studying theory and ear training, the list goes on… These are all great tips and things to
consider when practicing. Every teacher could write a great deal about each one of these topics. We can have the best, most efficient and motivating practice routine known to man but there’s something to keep in mind when learning a new song or skill: It’s going to take as long as it’s going to take. So work hard but please remember to be patient with yourself.
Everyone learns at different rates and understands/hears material in their own way. No two people experience music the same. That’s one of the things that makes it great! Being patient with yourself means getting comfortable with yourself and your instrument and tuning in to the sound of yourself. Creating a practicing environment that is free from distractions will help you do this. If you’re using your phone as a metronome or timer feel free to put it on airplane mode. Tune out of the busy world for a while and into the world of your music (whatever it is you happen to be playing or practicing). Relax and focus on how you play, sing and express yourself. it’s not hard but it does take some effort.
Parents, help your young musician achieve this mindset by providing the disconnect from all the multi-tasking and stimuli we are so used to and encourage music to happen! (Playing/ singing music provides plenty of multi-tasking on it’s own).
Practice slowly and take the time to repeat ideas and phrases until they truly sound good to you. Get comfortable with the sounds you are making. Yes, even the mistakes! They can turn into great musical ideas of their own. Be persistent but patient. You have permission to sound the way you sound right now. Keep practicing and be patient.
Wes is the drummer of long time local band, Sol Driven Train. He has taught for over 12 years at music schools in Tennessee, North Carolina, and now South Carolina. He’s currently working with "Heal with Hearts", who received a state grant for Wes to teach African drumming at James Island Charter.