There are so many times when I get frustrated with the sound of music. When I’m practicing a song on guitar or bass, there will always be mistakes, buzzes, pops, sharp notes, flat notes, and miscellaneous irksome noises caused by the discoordination of my fingers on the fret board. These mistakes vibrate the strings, which feed into the magnets of the pickups, trail their way across the floor into the soft hum of the amp, and come belching out into the world through eight ten-inch speakers. I execrate each of them as they come to life, and each imperfection lodges itself deeply into my focus and confidence. These mistakes get entangled into what I believe my musical “sound” is. I want to my noise to be perfect. I want it to sound smooth and crisp and expressive. 10470929_10202475379390430_7059634937073667938_n So I practice to get all these weird noises out of my playing. I sit next to my computer with a metronome and pound out the bad notes. I’ll often listen to the recording of the song I’m trying to play and be so distraught that I can’t make it sound the way it does on the album, I’ll set down my instrument and swear off playing for that evening. This approach is not entirely healthy, but it’s the truth. At band practice, I will often hit the completely wrong note and curse out loud at myself for screwing up a bass line that I’ve practiced hundreds of times before. I get upset, and instead of focusing on the music at the moment I dwell on past mistakes, which causes more mistakes down the line. These wrong notes get into my head, and before I know it basslines are careening their way into oblivion. But every day, I’m learning to suck better. Instead of being frustrated by my mistakes, I try to accept them gently, and move on. This doesn’t mean I don’t work on the imperfections; I just no longer let them stop me from getting better. I try to laugh when I make mistakes in practice and try to enjoy the sound of my instrument instead of comparing it to other people or recordings. Playing is more enjoyable this way, and the only way to get better is to suck a little bit. I’m not sure if you learn from mistakes, but you have to make mistakes while you’re learning. As with most things in life, music is a journey and not a destination. Enjoy the road to becoming a better musician—otherwise you’ll never enjoy the music. – Fizzy

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