Have you ever thought about what you’re thinking about? The mind is a very powerful place.
What you think about has the power to stop you cold in your tracks or propel you forward. It can even prevent you from making your music dreams come true.
I know, because this almost happened to me.
My Own Mental Wrestling Match
I remember when I first really started learning how to read music. I had gotten by pretty well all through my elementary, junior high, and high school years. But then, college hit and I decided to study music.
In order to do this very well, I had to finally take the time to sit down and try to understand what I was looking at. No more skimming by. No more having someone else play it first before I could play it (by ear, of course).
This was big time.
These professors couldn’t be fooled. They knew I was lacking in reading skills and told me to either get serious about it or change my major.
It was tough, but I chose to hang in there and do the work that I needed to do. The only way I was going to get through this and really conquer music reading was to change my thinking.
Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life
Maybe you have been faced with the music reading reality. In order to get to the level of playing in recording sessions, you will have to learn how to proficiently read music. This is also true if you want to play professionally with any group, become a solo artist, or even teach others how to play music.
If the thought of this paralyzes you with fear, then a little negative thinking may be hidden deep down in the recesses of your unconscious mind.
You can choose to either keep allowing those negative thoughts to control your life and self-image or you can reprogram your thinking.
Challenge Your False Beliefs
Bring up your unconscious negative thoughts to your concrete awareness and look at them critically. What is it you have convinced yourself is true?
Do you ever find yourself completely blocked by such thoughts as “I can’t,” “I’m not good enough,” or “I don’t deserve to…?”
Do you feel you’re improving one day on your instrument and then stuck in procrastination the next? Have you experienced a lot of anxiety in a musical situation that in reality poses no threat whatsoever?
These items all represent false beliefs. They are merely habits you have learned. When these thoughts are inspected close enough, very few will ever hold up to the real truth about yourself.
Create New Beliefs
Use your imagination to create new thoughts about yourself and what you are trying to accomplish. These new memories can change your overall attitude and behaviors.
Replace the false beliefs with images of competence and success. Envision in your head an image representing the ideal end result.
This visualization technique is a very powerful way of using your imagination in a systematic way to create what you want.
Can you really see and feel yourself reading music, performing magnificently on stage, or winning the next audition?
You can use these same techniques when practicing. Try practicing a new composition in the mind first before ever playing a single note. If you are taking lessons, see if the teacher notices any difference in your learning style and playing abilities.
Why It Works
Your nervous system doesn’t seem to know the difference between something you have imagined intensely in your head and the actual event itself.
Since the performance has already successfully played out in your mind, the chances of making this a real-life event is very possible.
Tips For Making This Effective
1. Be clear on what you want. Get a good picture of your goal and why it’s important to you. If you’re not sure what it is you want, try thinking about what you don’t want first and make the opposite your target point.
2. Imagine yourself reaching this goal. See yourself moving effortlessly through a set of actions as you reach your final destination. It all needs to flow smoothly like a river.
3. Create a series of purposeful thoughts that will lead you to your goal. “I can read music, and do it very well,” “This band would love to have me as one of their players. I’ve just been improving that much,” or “I know I can win this audition. I’ve worked very hard for it and I see my efforts paying off” are all examples of positive thinking that can change the course of your thinking…and your life.
Repeat these thoughts over and over until your reality is created. Whenever the old beliefs want to creep back in, knock them out with your new purposeful thinking.
Hang In There…
If things haven’t been going well for you lately, don’t lose hope. Changing your thinking is really the secret to making your music dreams come true.
Nothing is impossible if you really want it bad enough. It may not always be easy, but it’s always possible.