In last week's blog, I talked about setting goals and making excellence a habit, not a destination. As a small part of that, I mentioned holding yourself accountable, and how valuable that can be in accomplishing goals.
What exactly does holding yourself accountable look like? How can we do this effectively? In the context of any goal, whether it be to meditate more, exercise 5 hours a week, or get better at a musical instrument, there are a few ways we train our minds to make these goals a priority.
First, ask yourself why. For the purposes of the discussion here, let's say you want to learn how to play piano. What is your reason? Is it to keep your mind sharp? Is it to entertain family and friends? Is it to learn how to read and write your own original music? Having this "why" in mind can help frame not only your practice schedule but also what pieces or techniques you are learning, how thoroughly you learn them, and what you focus on in each piece of your musical repertoire.
If your goal is important to you, making the time to practice your instrument each day will not be as difficult as it will be if you're not sure what your purpose is.
As a part of answering your "why" question, you may find it beneficial to educate yourself on your goal. How exactly does music help brain development and function over the long term? There is considerable evidence suggesting that playing an instrument helps one retain hearing function and speed reaction times in older adults.
Playing music has been shown to aid in soothing anxiety and depression. It helps us connect with each other emotionally and otherwise. Playing piano, guitar, or any other instrument trains our brains to process many things at once, strengthening cognitive function.
Once you have your "why," it's a good idea to enlist the help of someone to keep you accountable. This person could be a spouse, parent, roommate, or even your weekly music lessons instructor. It's a good idea to track your own practice habits, but having weekly piano lessons will give you a regular touch point with someone who will cheer you in your successes and notice when you're not making as much progress, encouraging you to keep pushing yourself forward.
This is one reason why regularly taking piano lessons is a great way to learn the instrument. Many people will get discouraged or lose interest in an instrument if they're not often being challenged to learn new skills and cultivate attention to musical details as a habit.
Once you have your "why" and your support system in place, it's time to prioritize the habits that make your goal possible. If your big goal is to play piano, violin, guitar, or some other instrument proficiently, then your daily goal may be to practice for 30 minutes a day. Making time each day in a quiet space where you can focus, allows you to more easily accomplish this task routinely. There will never be a moment in your life when you feel like you have "enough time" for everything you want to do, but if something is important, you must make time.
Ready to take the leap and start piano lessons or guitar lessons? Contact us today to set up your first FREE lesson.