You Gotta Want It

Do you really want to play music?

If so, that’s a precious and valuable thing. If you’re feeling down because you’re not further along, just remember that there are lot of people who don’t even know what they want to do with their time. Just knowing what you want to do can create a powerful shift in your life.

I’m always trying to discover how to help people practice. Whenever I meet someone who practices consistently I ask them a lot of questions, trying to understand what their secret is, what makes them tick.

What makes you pick up the fiddle every day?

Is it a great fiddler you’ve heard?

Is it a feeling you have when you play music?

Is it a goal, like playing a certain song or playing in a group?

When you reach your goal, do you want to practice more? Or do you do better without having a goal?

I haven’t found any magic bullet or secret sauce that will help you play every day. It seems that the people who practice simply want to do it.

You gotta want it.

That’s why I emphasize finding joy in your music. Fun is not over-rated. Making it fun will help you to practice the difficult things and help you to keep on fiddling every day.

But, I’ll keep searching for the secret. What motivates YOU to practice?

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8 responses to “You Gotta Want It

  1. I like to “get in the zone” almost a meditation with the drone. I start each practice that way and it just feels good. The tunes I learn or the progress I make are secondary – I think the the fiddle is very much a soul instrument, like a drum. In fact,the drum is the only other instrument that has that quality of meditation for me. But the fiddle goes beyond with the melody and takes me to yet another place. So I do it for joy, but also for relaxation, for peace, for escape and for playing some of the coolest fiddle tunes! So I play almost everyday, but I don’t have to force. If I miss a practice, it is very much missed – I feel longing for the next time I get to play. It is truly something I love. Thanks for your help on the journey.

  2. I’ve always loved fiddle music but thought it must be too difficult for a person like me to learn. I couldn’t even read music-I can still only decipher notes with careful study and it will be a long time before I’ll be able to play from sheet music. But last December I got a student fiddle and started Fiddlehed lessons. I turned 60 at the end of January and want to be able to fiddle with a group by the time I retire. My goals are to practice daily and develop better sound until someday I can play without embarrassment. Thanks Jason for your efforts.

  3. Ten years ago, at the age of 43, during my first fun mid-life crisis I borrowed my sisters old grade school violin and attempted to learn a few drinking songs and maybe a waltz or two to entertain my buddies…. with no music knowledge, instruction, or plan. I simply tried to gut my way through it as has actually worked for me in so many other areas of my life. I wrote my own tabulature for Ashokin Farewell (yeah, my starting song) and spent oodles of time trying to make it work. Fear or shame of failure is what kept me going. Completely idiotic, completely un-fun. And completely failed, of course.

    Now, ten years later, and several more “mid” life crisis’s later(don’t get me wrong-I enjoy them), I have again picked up the fiddle to give it another go about four weeks ago. But this time I am embracing the patience required. I have completely surrendered to the FiddleHed gameplan/syllabus. So so so much better. It is actually fun and without pressure. And my progress is actually faster…by taking it slower. Imagine that. Magic.

    Thanks FiddleHed guy… for reminding me to keep the fun in what is meant to be fun. I still may fail, but I will have a better time getting there.


  4. Like Skitter, keeping my fiddle out of the case is key to practicing. I’m not as focused and goal oriented as I should be to progress at a steadier pace, but the fiddle and bow hang on a hook on a beam in my timber frame home unless I’m taking it somewhere.Not only does the fiddle look way cool, it invites me to play.

  5. A lot of people I meet want to play an instrument, most want to wake up one morning playing their instrument of choice. Daily practice depend more on discipline than motivation. Sometimes it’s work, sometimes it’s fun. It is always rewarding. The series of lessons about melodic variations in playing scales makes scales fun. Not an easy task, but if you play more you sound better. When you sound better you play more.

  6. Motivation: I’m super goal-oriented, so I have mini-goals (learn these X tunes to play in beginner/intermediate session) and an overarching goal (be able to eventually play Irish tunes at full speed in a pub session). Each tune is like a puzzle, and when I solve one, it makes me want to learn more. It’s like a feedback loop!

    The other thing that drives me to practice is often a matter of pure habit/discipline, and a sort of “reward system”. I usually play around the same time each day, and I have a tracker graph in my planner in which I color in a square for each day I practice — my goal is to have no empty squares at the end of a month. Also, I just started a dedicated practice journal in which I plan ahead what I’m going to do for practice the next day (broken into three categories: technique, new tune(s), review). Finally, I make sure my fiddle is easily accessible: I have a hanger on my music stand for both fiddle and bow, and I have a clip-on tuner there as well, so all I have to do is pick up my instrument and tune up and play; the only time my fiddle is in its case is when I’m taking it somewhere.