Last night, whilst lounging on my sofa with a friend watching the television, I flicked through the channels to stumble across a woman playing the piano as if it was as easy as a simple stroll in the park. The sound that came out of her carefree fast-motioned fingers, made me wonder how it is possible to have both of your hands work on two different chords at different ends of the piano. This then made me realise that it is exactly what I do when I play my bass guitar.
When watching this woman play, I found myself in a deep discussion with my friend about whether it is a natural talent towards playing music or whether it truly is a long time of practising to make perfection. I refuse to believe that every time I walk into a guitar shop that every single person in there looking at guitars are 'naturally' gifted in music or have a 'natural' talent to music. Similar to the woman playing the piano, it would have taken many years of practise to be as good as that.
On my last visit to my local guitar shop, to pick up a tabs book, I found myself talking to someone else about how they had never played a piece of music by 'The Doors'. It just so happened this said shop supplied a tabs book for that and this person blew me away. He simple perched the book against the wall, sat down with his guitar and started to play like true professional no problems, just from reading the tablatures.
Amazing I thought, but then when I think about this more logically, this man has had twenty years more experience in playing the guitar than I had playing my bass. Therefore, after years of experience he was able to play anything for the first almost perfectly. It would appear that this man could play any piece of music set down upon him; therefore, his dedication to playing the guitar was made prominent through his performance in the guitar shop.
Musicians, artists, writers, performers, dancers and people within the creative industry will know all too well that to become good at something you have to practise to perfection, or practise until you never get it wrong. The same applies for any profession or hobby; this includes people in sporting events or even in the entertainment industry. To truly master playing a musical instrument, one will need to make more than just a few visits to the music or guitar shop buying books and accessories.
A lot of this should be mirrored by the dedication to practising and actually playing the instrument. The first time I had begun playing my bass was not that long ago, but I remember picking it up all excited and eager to play only to find that I had no idea what I was doing. The first thing I wanted to do was learn a few bass tunes to some popular rock music. Whilst doing this I decided to learn a few impressive tricks and techniques that would help me to play better.
Those wanting to learn to play an instrument will need to begin finding their feet in learning to play and try to play a song that interests them. This will mean plenty of time alone going over the same tune again and again. It will be frustrating, painful and even laborious at time, but you will very quickly adjust to this and once you see the improvements in your playing you will never want to stop. Often, you will find when playing the guitar, you may improvise and create your own tunes, this is a good sign of progress and it is worth recording these if you can.
When playing in front of people, your nerves will be playing topsy-turvy in the pit of your stomach, even if the audience is your family members! To people who do not know how to play a musical instrument, you will appear a musical genius with a 'natural' flair for music.
Whether it is something that you are born with or have a keen interest in, nothing can rule out that practise is the key. It is true that some people are gifted in being able to learn faster than others are able to, but whatever the rate of learning power you have with practise comes familiarity, clarity and perfection. Therefore, the key to becoming a good musician is to practise, practise and practise some more.
Anna Stenning regularly visits her guitar shop to maintain and keep her bass guitar in good condition, as well as pick up DVD tutorials and tablature books.