Here’s the scenario:
An 11-year-old boy whose whole life revolves around playing video games and getting good grades at school decides that he want to try playing guitar because his best friend told him it’s fun and he thinks to himself: “how cool would that be, being able to rock out?”
He tells his parents and they don’t pay much attention to it…so he goes at it again, and again, and again until finally, they budge and buy him a $75 classical guitar and find where he could take guitar lessons.
Ten years later, that little kid is a completely different person with tons of different experiences and the one thing that hasn’t changed is that he still plays the guitar as a hobby and a passion and the fact that I’m still obsessed with Pokémon. 😛
My name’s Mauricio Gatgens, I’m a blogger, entrepreneur, geek, and musician. I want to inspire you all to give playing an instrument a chance.
I’m by no means a professional musician. I’ve tried working with bands and giving concerts and though it is pretty exciting it’s not the life I want for myself…I just play for myself and whoever else wants to listen in.
Ever since I started playing there’s been some things that have gotten ingrained in my brain and skills I’ve developed that have translated towards other areas of my life and made me an overall better guy. I truly believe learning an instrument can do wonderful things for us people and to illustrate let me tell you what it has taught me.
First and foremost, the most important thing I’ve learned by playing an instrument is discipline. I’ve learned that there’s no way we can stay motivated and excited about something forever and that’s perfectly normal, but to really excel at something we must be willing to put ourselves through the grinding that comes with learning a new skill and keep ourselves going even when it seems we’re actually going nowhere. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had someone come up to me and tell me “yeah, I’ve always wanted to learn but I tried it and failed…I just can’t do it!”
Well, guess how many times I failed before I considered myself a decent guitar player?
Learning any new skill isn’t supposed to be easy and learning to play an instrument isn’t the exception, it requires patience and dedication, but the satisfaction you get from knowing what you put yourself through…priceless! Becoming a musician has taught me how to stay disciplined and that has allowed me to start a blog, get fit, learn about business and even become a better video game player.
Of course, music and playing guitar isn’t all about grinding and painful hours of practice…nobody would do it if it was like that. Music is an art, and just like any other form of art it requires you to exercise your creativity. Playing an instrument lets you find new ways to express your true self and it helps you train the parts of your brain associated with creative thinking, meaning you get to experience life in a whole new way all because you actually do become much more creative. The process of writing a blog post like this and composing a song aren’t as different as you think, it all begins with one simple idea and creativity allows us to transform that idea into something tangible, just like building a new product for a business or making awesome plans for the weekend.
Now of course, if you decide to stay in your place and relax during the weekend one of the best ways to do that is by grabbing your instrument and letting it relieve your stress. Just like expressing ourselves lets us become more creative, it lets us pour out everything that we’re holding onto, much like meditation and yoga would, releasing all the tension that’s stored up inside of us.
There’s nothing quite as cathartic as playing an extremely intense rock song when you’re feeling mad, playing a sad song to allow yourself to grieve or just play some relaxing jazz to let your body loosen up. In fact, last time I had to deal with a tough moment in my life, the way I chose to release all my stress was by composing songs like crazy…some were actually good, even! Haha and while we’re on the subject…
Finishing a song, whether that’d be learning one or composing your own, gives you a sense of accomplishment that’s actually hard to compare to anything else. You get to immediately hear the results of your effort and the best part is…you get to hear it over, and over, and over because once you’ve learned a song entirely, it’s really difficult not to want to play it. It’s exciting when you can show people (and more importantly, yourself) that you have accomplished something and what better way to show your progress to others than by becoming part of a community!
Becoming a musician inevitably means you’ll get a chance to bond with other musicians, and it feels good to become part of a big community. We humans are social creatures by nature, we need to feel liked and accepted and we get this feeling by becoming active members of communities that tend to be like us. Music is a perfect example of this, we all have a friend that we met because they were listening to one of our favorite bands or songs, and that translates directly to being a musician, you just love finding out someone can play an instrument as well, it’s sort of an instant friendship and who doesn’t like to have friends?
Finally, learning an instrument can actually make you smarter. It’s one of the few activities that stimulates your brain as a whole and thus improving cognitive functions. It really pays to learn any new skill to become more productive and happier, so why not give an instrument a chance?
I first started playing guitar at 11 years old and eventually learned to play piano, bass, and some other instruments. But the truth is you can pick whatever you like, you can choose to try out the violin, cello, bass, piano, guitar, trumpet, saxophone, bagpipes….I could go on forever, but I could never tell you what you should try out. All I can tell you is that if you’re looking to improve your life, taking up an instrument and learning to express yourself through music is an amazing way to do so, and you don’t have to be the next Mozart in order to enjoy playing the piano. In fact…you don’t even have to be amazing – all you need to do is enjoy it and it’ll be worth it.
Just keep in mind that it’s not something you’ll be able to do in a couple of weeks, it takes time and effort. It takes discipline and creative thinking, so don’t go nuts over it and relax, as long as you practice and enjoy the journey you’ll always end up feeling accomplished and you’ll even pick up some new friends along the way. Hey, who knows…we might even end up jamming someday!
P.S: That’s actually one of my guitars on the photo, in case you were wondering. 😛
My name is Mauricio Gatgens and I’m the owner and writer over at The Geek Entrepreneur’s Blog.
As you can probably tell, I love music, video games, self-improvement and business and I’ve dedicated myself to mix all of those things into one awesome blog.
Of course, I’ll let you be the judge of that yourself! 😉
Feel free to check it out any time, I’ll be waiting for you with some cookies, don’t worry…they’re freshly baked!