The Role of Patience

Logan Damery

Mon Nov 09 2020 | 6 Minute Read

It often seems as though everyone out there is looking for a “get rich quick scheme” when it comes to success. So many individuals are looking for success from the product of instant gratification rather than the long, slow, arduous grind. As musicians, we all know that becoming successful does not happen overnight; it takes years of time and effort. While it is easy to get caught up in all of that time and effort, there are a couple of factors that go into how successful you truly are as a musician.

Key Takeaways


The Danger of Details

When you’re in the midst of a practice session and suddenly stumble on something that you're struggling on, it can be extremely easy to become hyper-fixated on that one specific detail, rather than the underlying problem.  This leads to the issue of turning your practice session into a “specific situation session” rather than time spent actually learning how to fix what you’re doing wrong. While this may be fine for the moment, in reality all it’s doing is pushing the root of the problem further down the road. 

For example, instead of focusing on a measure that contains unusual meters mixed in with what you’re already comfortable with, take a step back and focus on learning how to play the harder meters. Once you can reliably play the harder meters out of context, then you should move on to learning it within the context of the music. Learning to play things strictly in context will condition you to only be able to play in context rather than actually knowing how to play what you’re trying to learn.

Keystone Skills

Rather than practicing for specific situations, you should strive to be practicing to prevent yourself from even getting into said situations. Looking back at the example from before, learning how to play a unique meter on its own will make it much easier to take that meter and move it around to wherever you need it. This allows you to be able to actually learn how to play different things and use them when you need them. Otherwise, your brain will unconsciously connect what you’re trying to learn with what you're playing, rather than what you actually thought you were learning. 

Essentially what you're doing by practicing the root of the issue rather than the issues you see right away is freeing up practice time for your future self. It allows you to spend one practice session fixing a problem rather than multiple sessions fixing a situation. 

The Role of Patience

While it may come across as trite, patience is one of the most important factors to being successful in music.  Whether it’s learning something challenging that you’ve never done before, or if you just aren't where you want to be at in your musical career, it is important to remember that becoming a great musician takes time. With this being said, it is important that you take the time to perfect skill sets on your instrument, and realize that you won't be perfect on day one. 

Don’t rush through your practice sessions acting like it is a checklist that needs completed. Instead, view each practice session like you are climbing a mountain. Each time you are slowly gaining more leverage on your goals. Sometimes it may feel like you went downhill just to continue climbing back up. This is where you specifically need to be patient with yourself and the speed in which you are learning at. 

Bottom Line

Remember, success in any form does not happen overnight. Success often takes more time than we want to hape in our lives. Being patient, consistent, and focused are all key elements in becoming the musician you want to be. 

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