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Playing an Instrument: Let the Music Make you Happy

Playing an Instrument: Let the Music Make you Happy

It is a well-known fact that music is humanity’s ticket to a never-ending fountain of emotions. Many have drunk its dazzling water; thus, giving us the best solution for everything life throws at us.

It is said that the only thing better than listening to music is creating it yourself. The path to discovering your inner musician is paved with a few thorns, but that doesn’t mean that the journey itself isn’t worth the trouble.

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” – Bob Marley

An extensive study carried out by Wheaton College has shown that music provides long-term benefits with an emphasis on increasing your brain productivity and sharpness. It is undeniable that music brings forth our underlying emotions (some might even say our soul) and you have all experienced it. Just think of those times when you felt goosebumps from your favorite song, or even direct empathy from a musical piece you haven’t heard before. Now imagine creating that feeling by yourself. Imagine being the one in control of the notes as if they were words.

You should also know that playing an instrument gives you a real advantage in life. The benefits are numerous, but the most important one is improving yourself as a person. Just as our body needs food and water to survive, think of music as the bread for the soul. Even if you’re not really aiming for nirvana through musical literacy, you will at least start seeing the world with a new set of eyes.

Getting started

getting into playing an instrument

    After you have decided that you are committed to learning an instrument, there are still a couple of things you need to get sorted out before actually taking the instrument in your hands. Being that you are probably an adult, first make sure that you clear up your daily schedule. Practice makes perfect and you will need to play almost every day in order to have visible progress.

    A ton of patience – Prepare yourself mentally that learning to play an instrument is not a short process. You will have many obstacles to clear and for every up in your playing, expect a down as well. Believe in yourself and be confident: music is more of a psychological challenge than a physical one.

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    Find a teacher or other teaching methods – You will be surprised how many great musicians live in your area and are ready to give lessons. Use them as much as you can, as a professional will gladly reveal all the tips and tricks to a persistent student. On the other hand, you can get online tutoring. Or if you are feeling up to it, you can use one of the many textbooks on the market to get started.

    Get all the accessories you’ll need – By accessories I mean getting a notebook (a music journal or manuscript paper), a suitable case for your instrument, and any additional equipment you might need. Brushing up on musical theory is also something you might want to consider if you are not a total beginner.

    Picking out an instrument

    All that is left is to pick the instrument you will use to create music. Reasons for picking an instrument are numerous, but let’s narrow down your search by implementing certain search factors that are common for most beginners.

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      The music you like

      More often than not, people want to learn to play an instrument in order to recreate their favorite music. Choosing an instrument this way can be very helpful, because you will have more inspiration and are far less likely to give up before you can jam along with your preferred band.

      However, choosing an instrument because of a single band can be misleading. After a few years, your taste in music might change, and you might find yourself unable to play a particular tune on your instrument. Therefore, I recommend choosing a versatile instrument, one that can carry out multiple genres.     

      Finding a teacher

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      I have already emphasized the importance of having a teacher and the more “exotic” your instrument, the more difficult it becomes to find a teacher in your neighborhood. Considering the speed of modern lifestyle, the last thing you’d like is to travel for hours every day only to have that didjeridu class.

      The number of available teachers refers to another factor that shouldn’t become one of your primary reasons, but it definitely makes a difference.

      The popularity of an instrument

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        Even though you shouldn’t be led by the popularity of an instrument, it comes as natural that there are certain advantages in picking a popular instrument. First, it is easy to buy one along with any additional equipment; and second, the number of people you can play with is simply larger with a violin than with a specially made diatonic accordion.

        Singing and playing at the same time 

        Having in mind that you are a true music aficionado, you will probably want to make the most out of your music-playing experience. Letting your voice be heard comes as a logical continuation. Furthermore, having the option of being able to sing while playing means that you will be able to mimic popular songs and famous bands entirely.

        With everything in mind for the goal of helping a beginner choose the instrument that will help to express their creativity, I’ve narrowed down my recommendation to two instruments.

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        Digital Pianos and Guitars – these two instruments fit perfectly inside every parameter I mentioned earlier. Among the most popular and easily recognizable instruments in the world, digital pianos and guitars offer a colorful array of possible music with easy accessibility.

        Perfect for feature solo artists as well those looking forward to playing in a band, digital pianos and guitars can lead, support, or even solely carry an entire musical piece.

        Digital Pianos

        playing an instrument - digital piano

          Digital pianos basically mimic the sound of an acoustic piano with the distinction that a digital piano can be carried around, whereas acoustic pianos move around only in cartoons. Digital pianos are actually recommended for learning, as they come with features specially made to suit a beginner. Of course, everything you learn by practicing with a digital piano is applicable on an acoustic piano. Digital pianos basically use sampled piano sounds which are amplified through a loudspeaker.

          In fact, digital pianos have several advantages over their acoustic counterparts. Much smaller and lighter, digital pianos are far less expensive. With digital pianos, you have the option of adjusting the volume, and some digital pianos even have the option of playing different sounds (not just the piano) such as the pipe organ and harpsichord.

          Digital pianos do not require tuning and are simply perfect as a stable musical platform that you can use wherever and whenever you wish.

          Guitars

          playing an instrument - guitar

            As you all probably know, a guitar is a string instrument usually with six strings and, in a way, represents a modern continuation of one of the oldest instruments. Over the years, guitars have become an epitome of coolness and have made their way into almost every genre of music.

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            There are several basic types of guitars for you to choose from:

            Acoustic Guitars

            Acoustic guitars create their sound without any means of amplification (except the body of the guitar). They have a rich sound and are mainly reserved for small venues. There are numerous types of acoustic guitars with the main differences being the tonal qualities.

            Acoustic-Electric Guitars

            Acoustic-electric guitars are basically acoustic guitars that have a plug for an amplifier or a recording device. Unamplified, they are similar to acoustic guitars. But once plugged in, acoustic-electric guitars make a distinctive sound right between an electric and an acoustic guitar.

            Electric Guitars

            Electric guitars, as their name suggests, are designed to be played with an amplifier. Unamplified, electric guitars produce a very shy sound. Once jacked-up, a skilled artist can make it cry or weep, as Mark Knopfler once famously put it.

            Bass Guitars

            Bass guitars do not have the flashy, slick popularity of their electric cousins; nevertheless, they create a unique sound in music. Originally made to be a part of the rhythm section of a band, bass guitars are stable and reliable. In the hands of a master, bass guitars can perform truly breathtaking musical phrases.

            The final choice is yours

            The last task for you is to embark on the beautiful journey of exploring the seas of music. Remember, there are no standard paths, no shortcuts, and no wrong turns. Keep a pace that best suits your preferences and try your best to make the music that makes you happy and satisfied.

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            Dejan Kvrgic

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            Last Updated on February 18, 2019

            13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with It and Enjoy the Ride

            13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with It and Enjoy the Ride

            Fear. I spend my life talking about fear — fighting fears, fixing fears and understanding fears. And yet I doubt I get 10 calls a year from people saying “Mandie can you help me fix my fear?”

            Why is this so critically important to you?

            The realization for me is that fear is not the fundamental driving force in your life it’s what regardless of whether I’m talking to a doctor, a teacher, a CEO’s, a senior citizens or teenager – every single one of those conversations has a direct correlation with your world.

            Fear can range from the overwhelming desire to look away or stop in your tracks to literally fleeing your country and the life you knew. In this article, I will share you with 13 tips to face your fears and enjoy the ride.

            1. Know That Fear Is Real, but Can Be Overcome

            Right now around the world people are facing fear — real fear. Fear that I pray my children and I will never experience. Does that lessen my fears or your fears in your relativity safe 21st century life?

            When I look at the world we all live in, I find that fear like so many other emotions can mean so many different things to so many different people:

            • The child who has to be physically dragged to their first day of school.
            • The man facing the judge.
            • The woman with her hand poised over the buttons over her phone because she has to walk down a dark corridor late at night alone.
            • The man as the surgeon says “count backwards from 10 Mr Smith.”
            • The woman that’s told “We are sorry, we can’t help you.”
            • The man that faces the empty circle of a gun and prays for his very existence.

            These and a million more (Portrayed in every kind of movie, book or song you could imagine) are what make us human. We face fear and somehow move forward or are stopped in our tracks.

            Like the rabbit in the headlights of the car that veers off through the field away from the tyres of the car or stays still praying for salvation. Like someone will save them. Sound familiar?

            Fear is huge. Fear is everywhere and yet fear can be overcome, controlled and can even be a power for good.

            2. Accept Your Fear

            Firstly if you aren’t facing the barrel of the gun, atrocities that make the news or impeding death, that’s a good start. However it doesn’t mean your fear is any less real.

            We are quick to say “I can’t moan, my life is not as bad as X.” While in theory, that’s honorable your appreciation of Mr. or Mrs. X’s horrific life won’t change anything directly. So accept your fear is relative to you.

            And here’s what can be done.

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            3. Get Some Perspective

            I found myself asking anyone that would answer “what is your worst fear”. The answer that intrigued me the most came from my daughter (15 years old and she usually has a copy of Fight the Fear – my book – in her school bag so she can help someone else be as positive and confident as her. No matter what life throws up.)

            And her fear, surprised me — heights. I pointed out that we live in a sprawling bungalow (one storey) and the highest she goes is two storeys’ at school! She laughed but added, fear isn’t like that Mum. I know it’s not a real fear, but it’s like when you stand on a chair and feel unsafe.

            That girl will go far. Because she truly gets fear.

            We know something is scary and yet we still do it. Why? Because we have a perspective to the fear. When you lose perspective, it can feel too big, and too scary.

            So look around you to get some perspective on your fear:

            • Are you really at risk?
            • Will this kill you?
            • Which leads us on to..
            • If the worse was to happen what would it be?

            4. Hold a Hand

            As a coach, it is my job to holds someone’s metaphorical hand and help them face a fear.

            Like the child petrified of the thunder storm or the teen that can’t get back in a car again after failing their test, your job as a parent is to reassure, encourage, enable and motivate someone to face something that ideally they never would choose to again.

            We know many of our fears aren’t real. However, it is only when someone guides us with love, respect, lack of judgement and safety are we able to get through fear. And trust me, you can get through your fears. I’ve seen it so many times.

            Ask yourself:

            • If the worse were to happen, what would that be?
            • Could that really happen?
            • If the worse did happen, how would you recover?
            • If the worse were to happen, what would you need to do next?

            By seeing fear as not the end destination but part of being human, you can see through it’s wily evil ways and move forward.

            5. Know Whose Hand You Hold Either Physically or Emotionally

            This helps with fears for the rest of your life.

            Think of someone you can always rely on (and ideally you won’t just answer yourself because that adds a lot of pressure to your existence!) And you will find that you’ve already found a way to get through fear.

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            The beauty of this is that it means that fear becomes part of life not something to be feared and shied away from.

            It means you know you can turn to your friend, partner, colleague, parent, sibling and say “Right I need to deal with this, and I’m going to need you to help me.”

            For one moment, think about it from the other person’s view point. When we get to help other people we feel valued, loved, respected and lots of other positive emotions and we get a good dose of positive chemicals setting off in our bodies too.

            Your fear, and your determination to fight it, helped someone else too. Now that’s cool right?

            6. Understand That There Are Some Things Fear Will Never Touch

            I like to find role models in life — people who have faced heroism, history changing moments, war, atrocities, miracles, life saving inventions.

            Not everyone was looking for greatness, however they all found it. And one of my favourite books to date is written about Alistair Urquhart, the forgotten highlander. If this doesn’t get turned into a film in the future, then no man’s story is likely to.

            Alistair went through the most horrific experiences in the 2nd world war. If you think of one of the awful things that happened back then in our world, Alistair went through at least 3 of them! Asked afterwards how did you cope? He talked about how whatever they did to his body, no matter how they starved, tortured, threatened or mocked him, they couldn’t have his mind. In his mind he was free.

            Of all the people’s voices I’ve heard in my head over the years, this is one of those statements that reminds me anything is possible if you have faith and hope.

            Look for the things in life that fear can’t touch. They will create confidence and faith for the future, whatever you face. And they will give you a sense of why being you is awesome.

            Of all the billions of people on this planet, no one will have an answer identical to yours!

            7. Process Your Fears to Carry on with Life

            Being brave is not about sticking your chest out and smiling regardless of what hell you endure. It is about finding a way to emotionally process your fears to be able to keep going.

            I have a tool kit of things I can rely on – tools, strategies, techniques. They include people to hug or talk to, music. hobbies, walks on the beach and even my favourite food. It sounds mad but at the times where I have questioned “how will I get through this?” I’ve found immense joy in doing the most unlikely of thing that makes me smile.

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            It may be a short lived moment of happiness. However, it reminded that nothing stays the same and I can find away.

            One client told me that it was crazy when it felt like their world was falling around their ears to run a bath to the brim (you don’t waste water) get the best bath oils, light too many candles, lock the door and drink a glass of bubbly (champagne is only for special occasions.)

            Did that moment fix the disaster that my clients life felt? No, however it gave them a moment of calm and the brain is far quicker to find solutions, resolve and motivation to keep going when you do that.

            It may feel like madness to do something you love, however it can be a powerful way to help you find solutions to the fears you face in life.

            8. Assume the Worse

            If you read the statement from the client above. Notice how they assumed it was wrong to fill the bath up to the top? How bubbly is only for special occasions?

            Think how naughty they felt to be doing something that was not allowed?

            • Think about what age it may have made them feel?
            • Think about how they feel about champagne?
            • What special moments it’s been a part of in their lives?

            And you can see how the assumptions they made about their “right” to have these things was not healthy.

            When I drag the assumptions out of people’s words for them to see, they are often struck by how negative the words make them feel.

            Don’t assume your words aren’t impacting on you. You can go through fear and actually enjoy the ride when you take the time to understand how you are letting words get to you.

            9. Take a Fear That Feels Insurmountable Right Now.

            If you were to repeat it to me out loud, what would you say?

            Would you have blame on yourself in there? Would you assume others can do it and it’s just you? Would you feel small, unsuccessful, useless, unworthy?

            Usually, when you do this exercise, you are able to spot the untruths that run wild in your head convincing you that you are doomed. And rarely when we are faced with our assumptions is there is a lot of evidence to them.

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            10. You Are Not Defined by Your Fear

            One fear does not define your life – be mindful of that. It is likely to lead you to thinking of all the times you’ve succeeded and bring a moment of calm, confidence and faith back to you.

            11. Go with Fear

            When you learn to go with fear, you could find yourself actually having fun, no seriously – having fun.

            I have a few amazing clients I’m working with right now who would describe themselves as life long worriers, or pessimists. In the past that has served them well, enabling them to keep safe, steer clear of risks and even develop strategies in the event of disasters. However, now they find it’s becoming hard to break the cycle and they really want to because it’s holding them back.

            Notice how they’ve found their hidden fears and want to face them?

            One client said “I knew this was going to be tough, and I knew I couldn’t fight it alone and I knew you would be the one to help me.” Before I sat an incredibly successful, confident, capable business owner with a family and a social life to die for.

            However, I’ve learned that the most successful looking lives can hide things that impact on life, success, love, happiness and business.

            We didn’t start with the fear that they felt was holding them back, we broke the fear down, and found lots of little obstacles that had been deemed as “life” and “unchangeable” and “that’s just the way it is” by developing awareness to the little steps on the road to their obstacles to happiness and success they were able to tackle them in a different way.

            12. Discover Great Skills in Your Scary Moments

            And in that clients words “I came here to work with you to grow my company, and my own personal skills. I didn’t expect to get the children to be cleaning up after themselves and my partner being more attentive! It all feels a little magic.”

            The moral is that out of the scariest of moments, we can find great skills we didn’t know we had. Find better, healthier, happier ways to live and find ways to enjoy life more. (And have a bit of magic!)

            What a great place to be in ready for the next fear that thinks it’s going to get in the way of you, right?

            13. Own Your Fear

            Think back over these tips and come up with at least one example for each one. Write them down. Put them on your phone. Turn them into a piece of art. Turn them into a poem. Frame them. Go for a fast walk across the fields, beach, down town and repeat these things in your head to the sound of your feet on the ground.

            We rarely take the time to appreciate how far we have come, how much we can achieve or what we are capable of – by really owning the tips in this article you will have given your brain a big fat dose of “Damn right I can do this!” and the motivation and accountability to say “Let’s find a way” through any fear.

            You can’t help but feel good when you see that can you? And fear doesn’t stand a chance, does it?

            More Resources About Fighting Fear

            Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

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