www.tampafineartsacademy.com | 813-463-8968
The Musician’s Secret How Willpower Creates Great Musicians
There’s nothing that can replace repetition for a learning musician. In the end, I realized that the song wasn’t so hard to play. And those feelings of self-doubt? They’re very common for artists. They’re the biggest challenge for us all. That’s why learning an instrument is so enriching for our lives; it teaches us that we can overcome anything we’re fearful of. One of the most thrilling parts of playing music is when you realize that you’ve accomplished something. Hosting recitals is just one way that we at Tampa Fine Arts Academy showcase the accomplishments of our students. Recitals are meant to challenge our students to believe that within them is a real ability for music that deserves to be seen. That’s one of the reasons I love Stevie Ray Vaughan. He wasn’t just an excellent guitarist. He played his guitar like it was an extension of himself; he mastered his craft so well and felt so deeply passionate about his music that you could tell he’d become lost while playing. There’s a special kind of euphoria that only musicians can access, and researchers have actually conducted studies about that very feeling. In every moment that we touch an instrument, there’s an opportunity to fight our self-doubt and keep moving forward. I’m so proud of our students, teachers, and parents who have risen to the challenges of these new times. I’m also happy to announce that we’re going to keep offering our online lessons for students who excel at home as much as they do in our studios — even if it’s simply to keep up their lessons during vacations and on sick days. We’re all going to get through this time, and we’re going to see each other in the studios soon. No matter what, I’m confident we’ll come out of this much better musicians and people than ever before.
Before I dive into this month’s newsletter, I want to thank all of our students, parents, and staff who have diligently stayed with the school despite all the local and national changes. Your support has been tremendous and invaluable to the success of our distance learning program! It’s been a privilege to still teach music to you, albeit online, and I always look forward to seeing your faces even if we’re farther apart than usual.
When thinking about the online transition and why it’s still effective for many students, I started thinking how one of the first things that successful musicians learn isn’t how to play their instrument — it’s willpower. Mastering a craft isn’t easy. At first, the next step always seems impossible to accomplish. You listen to a difficult song or you see a complex page of sheet music and think, “How am I ever going to play that one day?” I know exactly how that feels. I shared in our last newsletter that I was practicing guitar for 4–5 hours every day after my engineering job before I ever started teaching. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t have doubts, struggles, and fears as a musician. One time, I was auditioning for a band. They wanted me to prepare and play “Testify” by Stevie Ray Vaughan, one of my favorite artists of all time. The song includes some very fast guitar licks, or at least I thought so at the time! I said to myself, “How am I ever going to play this for them?” It was extremely difficult until I practiced, and practiced some more, and practiced even harder.
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