Do you want to become successful in music? Learn here how to cultivate a musician mindset and other useful tools.
Let me ask you a question: do you think that to be able to play or create music, you need talent?
You need the right mindset and the right tools.
Nobody is born a great musician.
That’s not how it works.
Of course, some people will have more ease to play or create music.
And as adults, we all have different levels at musical abilities: hear, rhythm, creativity.
But we can all learn and improve our skills. At any age.
I believe that every single person who wishes to do some music has the capacity to do so.
And to reach the level they want.
But it requires something different than a hypothetical “natural” talent.
It requires to use the right set of tools, including the right mindset.
But first, why do you want to make or play music?
Step 1: know your musical why
So you want to learn how to play the piano? or the guitar? or how record an instrument?
Mm, maybe you mean that you want to PLAY the piano or the guitar? or create music?
Because WHY do you want to learn an instrument?
Is it because you dream of practicing scales? (well it can be fun I agree!)
Is it because you love reading music sheets? (Not so funny for me, but maybe for you?)
I bet not.
So why do you really want to start learning a musical instrument?
Why do you want to play music in the first place?
Because it brings emotions to you. And to people listening to you (maybe not yet, but it will be the case soon if you follow me!)
It might be for another purpose, but whatever it is, it is important that you find it.
Don’t forget this. This is your WHY.
And if you have your WHY in mind, you won’t approach the learning the same way.
No more struggle to learn scales or chords. You will be eager to learn new tools and techniques to bring more happiness to your world.
You are on a mission if you like.
And people with a mission can’t be stopped by obstacles, only delayed.
Step 2: The musician mindset
Your journey starts by resetting your mind.
Actually, you already may have noticed a change by reading the introduction of this post. (What? Did you skim down to this line without reading the intro? Go up there and do it!)
You have found the most important key to success in music (and your life): know your why.
However, it is not enough.
Because it is not easy to play well or be good at anything.
So you have to use the right mindset to be successful in your learning journey.
This mindset is called a growth mindset. This has been developed by the psychologist Carol S. Dweck in her book (#AffiliateLink) that I recommend you to read.
A growth mindset is a belief that you can improve your skills, that you can get better at what you do, no matter what.
An example of a man with a growth mindset: the very successful basketball player Michael Jordan. He said:
I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
That’s why you will succeed.
And you are capable of this.
Because you used it many times from your birth, at first when you learned to walk.
You felt a lot but each time you stood back up, smiling, with the heart filled with joy.
And tried again until you managed to walk successfully.
Love your mistakes because they are only there to show the direction to go to grow and develop your talent.
As a musician, you have to learn a lot of different things.
Likely how to practice your instrument, but also how to record your music, how to publish and promote it…
It might seem like a huge mountain to climb.
But if you use a growth mindset, you will be confident that you can learn all these things.
You will get better. And succeed.
I will give you a small extra tip: the power of a little word, “yet”.
Sometimes (or often), you may start thinking: “oh I don’t know how to do this, I will NEVER be able to do it.”
Change this thought by:
“OK, I don’t know how to do this, YET.”
It is this only important thing to focus on.
Because the people you see succeeding have ALL started by not knowing.
I’ll let you think about it.
Let’s get more practical now.
Step 3: Set your musical goals
Without a direction, you might get lost in your apprenticeship.
What do you want to achieve in music?
You can choose whatever goal YOU actually want.
Be careful to choose one which will make you grow, feel bigger.
And not a goal which will make you smaller because you do it to please someone else opinions.
Another important aspect of choosing your goals is to have long-term goals. For the next 6 months, the next year and the next 3 to 5 years.
All you will do will make much more sense and you will be committed to them.
Also revise your goals and methods over time.
Once you have set your goals, you have to take action.
And one of the most important key to be successful is to set good habits.
Step 4: Set musical habits
Indeed, an essential key to success is to set good habits.
Because you can set all the goals you want, even wisely chosen, if you don’t take action on them, they are not worth anything.
And you will watch time passing without being any closer to what you want to achieve.
I recommend you read this article and start incorporating these habits in your musician life,
I won’t list them again here, but I want to insist on one of these habits: practice regularly.
This is the most essential habit you must cultivate to get better on your instrument. Or more generally to cultivate your musical skills.
To go even further, I should say: practice with intention.
How are you gonna set these new habits in your life and keep them?
Let’s see that now.
How to set new habits
Setting new habits sounds daunting, right?
I guess that you already tried, but maybe not very successfully.
Like if something was trying to prevent you from keep going. And it is quite frustrating.
I know. I felt this so many times myself.
But not anymore. Because I know how to do now.
And it is really simple.
You can start any habit you want at any time.
I discovered that with the book “Tiny Habit” by BJ Fogg (#AffiliateLink).
It shows that to set new durable habits in your life, it works better by starting small.
If you try to start big (like when you take your New Year resolutions which last… 1 month? Less?), you will likely fail.
Because willpower is not enough to set regular and durable practice habits.
Indeed, this is like a big barrier to your brain. You will need a lot of energy to take action.
And you will tend to find excuses: “today I don’t have one spare hour, thus I won’t do anything, I will do it tomorrow”.
And, guess what, tomorrow you will have another excuse.
In the end, you will find yourself in one month without much progress.
And the same in one year.
And in 10.
Not really what you want, right?
Thus, start small, but start now.
And keep going.
How to do this in practice?
So, first choose which habit you want to set.
It is easier to start with one.
Let’s say you want to take a new habit of practicing scales every day.
Just commit to play one scale.
Even only once.
But every single day.
It has to be so easy and short that your brain won’t fight against it.
And it will be soon a new habit for as long as you wish.
It will be even easier if it is “anchored” to another routine.
For example, after brushing your teeth, you will practice playing scales for 5 minutes.
It will then naturally integrate your already existing routine.
You can start today.
In fact, it is better if you start right away. Or tomorrow at the latest.
Last tip: I find that it works better if it is first thing in the morning.
When you have been doing this for some time (2 weeks for instance), add another one.
And another one.
They will be linked to each other and become a natural thing you do every day or every week.
Try it and you will see the results.
Step 5: be consistent and love your journey
The “secret” of any success (in music or anything), is to be consistent.
It is easy to be pumped-up and say: “yeah, I will do tons of practice every day”.
But can you sustain it for weeks, months and years?
Because it is what it takes to get good.
If you work hard for two weeks and stop for three months, I bet you won’t be that good in the end.
Instead, prepare yourself for durable work.
To help you keep going, you have to be organized.
You probably already have you own time management and organization techniques.
But I want to share with you an organization tip that I find very efficient.
Set your session goals in advance and keep track of what you have done.
This is a time management technique that I use myself for everything, from work to gardening.
You can read this book (#AffiliateLink) which a great method to bullet journaling.
And buy on the best notebook (#AffiliateLink) to make your journal.
For each session, decide BEFORE what you will do and for how long.
- You will save time at the beginning of your session because you won’t have to wonder what to do.
- You will be more focused: “ok today I decided to do this exercise for 5 min. Let’s go.” No procrastination.
- You can ensure that individual sessions are aligned with your purpose and your main goal.
- You can measure your progress.
- You will be accountable towards someone (yourself!).
Once you have set your small goals, enjoy the moment.
Yes, it can be hard. It can be boring.
But you went through all the why, the goal setting and planning. Thus, each single step you make is bringing you closer to your goals, in line with your why.
And this is great, right?
Because when you do this, you are already successful.
“You never fail until you stop trying.”Albert Einstein
Now you are mentally well-prepared and you have everything to become successful whatever you want to achieve in music.
You are already developing a musician mindset.
We have seen:
- How to find you why
- What is the mindset for success
- How to set goals
- How to set habits
- How to be consistent in your learning
If you want to learn the piano, check out our guide here.
You want to compose your own music and have heard about chord progressions without knowing much about them? Read our guide here.