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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 July 10, 2020

            How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

            How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

            We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

            We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

            So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

            Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

            What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

            Boundaries are limits

            —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

            Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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            Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

            Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

            Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

            How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

            Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

            1. Self-Awareness Comes First

            Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

            You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

            To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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            You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

            • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
            • When do you feel disrespected?
            • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
            • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
            • When do you want to be alone?
            • How much space do you need?

            You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

            2. Clear Communication Is Essential

            Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

            Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

            3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

            Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

            That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

            Sample language:

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            • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
            • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
            • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
            • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
            • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
            • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
            • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

            Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

            4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

            Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

            Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

            Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

            We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

            It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

            It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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            Final Thoughts

            Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

            Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

            Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

            The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

            Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

            Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

            They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

            Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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