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The Woodshed: Finding your focus

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JJ Rocks Article # 35:  Finding your focus
You cant see the forest for the trees. Do you remember that line? Well, like Einstein said, everything is relative. So in that case lets apply it to music? I guess the reason for not getting the whole picture in any situation is the lack of patience. And that comes from the desire to achieve the most results with the least amount of effort. It brings to my mind most of the music students that I have ever taught while also shining a bright light on the ones who understand the pace that is required to achieve their musical goals. It also points out the fact that obtaining the right to be called a musician doesnt come with learning a few licks from tab and then pushing yourself onto the music scene via the local band gossip. But hey, without that kind of pretend to be superstar it would be harder to find a standard to set for the real musicians.

How do you put a puzzle together? Well, most people seem to construct the edges first so they can get an outline of what the whole picture is going to be, and then they proceeded to fill in the details. And it doesnt seem to matter what details they choose first, as long as the whole picture is contained within a logical framework. Then their thoughts dont go flying everywhere and they can focus on their goal, and in this case of course it's to learn a particular piece of music. And its no different then organizing classes in school or planning your shopping day.

So why is it so different for some students when it comes to learning music? Is the lack of discipline some how connected with the party and entertainment aspect of playing in a band? Or is it because of the fact that some students dont have to make a living from music and dont see it as something that is hard to achieve? Or maybe because its an acquired art form and not a required occupation that tends to mislead many who pursue it. I dont know, but all I cant say is that this article is directed to those who want to be real musicians, not those who are looking to be the highlight of the entertainment program at their next gathering around the neighborhood campfire. I guess Ill deal with that in our lets play for fun article in the distant future.

So for you serious students, lets get down to brass tacks. Just take a look at how much time that you have to give to your dream no matter what the length, and organize it the same way that you would with any other task that you take seriously. Then discipline yourself to focus on the rough spots and stop going back to the beginning every time that you make a mistake. This is done by constantly searching for the weak links in your playing and stop gloating about the strong ones. If you can do that, then you will be putting your actual goals in front of your ego, which of course with many of us, its easier said than done.

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