Don’t worry, it’s just music

By Dave Goldenberg, Guitar and Mandolin instructor at The Lesson Studio


Dave Goldenberg, Guitar & Mandolin instructor at The Lesson Studio

Dave Goldenberg


The idea of letting go has really helped me grow, both as a musician and a person.  When you are first learning to play an instrument or sing, it is common to get nervous or overwhelmed, and thus be less productive. Let me tell you, those feelings are perfectly normal. However, if you can find a way to relieve yourself of these unnecessary stresses, you will be all the more focused. Keep in mind; this doesn’t just apply to music, but to any task in life.

I am going to outline a list of ways to relieve the feeling of being overwhelmed, and thus get you, as a player, to not avoid your practicing or hinder your enjoyment of music.

First things first…  it’s just music folks! Nobody’s life is at stake. So before you even start working towards a goal, you must realize that you don’t really have to care. However, you do care, and being aware of that fact is an important realization.

So now that you have accepted that you have chosen to be here (I understand some children are an exception), you really need to narrow your goals.  What do you LOVE to listen to?  What music really excites you on an emotional level?  What kind of emotional response are you looking to get out of playing?  What are you not as into?

By answering these questions, you really get to the meat and potatoes of what you need to work on. Do you want to play chords well?  Do you want to play complete songs well?  Do you want to sing and play at the same time?  What songs really excite you?  Do you want to write your own songs?

Once you have answered these questions, you need to really narrow your tasks.  Practice one chord.  Practice one chord change to another chord. Practice one strumming pattern. Maybe work on each one of these in different weeks. Before you know it, you’ve learned an entire song. Then, before it seems possible, you know ten songs. Don’t worry about getting an entire section or an entire song the first week or two you try. Enjoy the process. Always be headed towards learning more, even if it’s the tiniest of baby steps.  The goal is to keep the tasks small so that you avoid getting overwhelmed…  and don’t worry if you get it wrong. It is just music, and it takes chutzpah to even attempt doing it!


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4 Responses to “Don’t worry, it’s just music”

  1. soundsorceress Says:

    Good stuff. And yes, simplicity is the key–don’t try to do EVERYTHING right NOW. Start small and work toward the full package.

  2. westerner54 Says:

    Thanks…I needed this pep talk! I’m just starting to learn the mandolin, and it’s sometimes hard to silence those voices in my head telling me that I’m too old, too uncoordinated, too un-musical…blah, blah, blah. It is fun, and not “rocket surgery” and I appreciate the reminder.

  3. soundsorceress Says:

    Reblogged this on SoundSorceress.

  4. sybariticsinger Says:

    “What music really excites you on an emotional level? What kind of emotional response are you looking to get out of playing?”
    The more programming I do in my own career I’ve realized that it takes being really excited about something to make it happen. If you don’t have that level of excitement; you won’t have the commitment to it either.


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