It's time to continue our journey along the 8 Steps to Improving your Musicianship! On to number 4:
If you don’t listen to music, you won’t get better at playing music.
Sounds pretty simple right? In fact, it's about the easiest homework you can do, because you don't need to be anywhere near a piano to do it! So how does the sing-along in the car or your headphones helping you through your daily commute help you become better at playing the piano?
Essentially, if you're not a fan of music, there's really no point in playing music. Your motivation to do something musical should be, at the heart of it, inspired by passion. This is the reason I so often ask during a lesson what you've been listening to, and why I ask on my sign-up form who your musical hero is. The best musicians I know are the ones that love music, and they're able to continue to grow their skills by being curious about what they listen to. It's also why I share each week the things that I've been listening to in case you're in need of something new to inspire you!
If you're an adult learner, chances are that your musical tastes have already been heavily curated, as we usually slow down on the amount of new music we listen to after our teenage years and early 20s. That's fine! Your challenge with the music that you already know inside-out is to find new ways to appreciate it. Have you listened to what the drums or the bass guitar are doing? Is there a melody or harmony in the backup vocals that you'd like to work out how to play?
Once you've listened to something with a critical ear (which isn't to say that you have to be critical of the music) you'll hopefully be inspired to want to know how that song was built, which might inspire you to sit at the piano and have a go at learning the song.
Some students listen to hours of music each day, some students might only hear 30 minutes of music of their choosing in a week. Some, none at all. Want to hazard a guess at the group of students who are more likely to improve their musicianship more quickly?
Things I've been watching/listening to this week: