There was a girl who wanted to be in a band. She had performed singing before, but never with a live band. And she had never used a microphone in her life! She answered a few Craigslist ads and ended up trying out for a band. But in the audition, hearing her voice through the microphone totally freaked her out, and she bombed. She didn’t know how she would ever get good enough to be the lead singer in a band. She thought it was too late, now that she was already in her 30’s.
That girl is me. And that audition was only about seven years ago.
So this week, I’m just reminding you that before you learn how to do something, it may seem like a huge mountain to climb. It may seem like you will never have enough time to tackle it.
But once you learn something new, you look back and say, “Oh! That wasn’t so hard after all…”
An adult student of mine emailed me about a year ago, telling me about how he had gone to an open mic night and gotten completely derailed by nerves. Now, just a year later, he has a promo DVD and a full cover repertoire, and is playing out regularly as a solo act, looking to land a weekly gig at a local pub.
A young student of mine was struggling with pitch issues. We worked on scales, arpeggios, and clean and accurate pitch entrances during part of each lesson for about a year. Then, out of the blue one day, she starting singing on pitch all the time, effortlessly.
Three years ago, I had never written a song in my life. I thought I simply was not a songwriter; didn’t have the ability. Now, I have written perhaps 50 or 75 songs.
A 20-something male student could not bridge the break between his chest and head voice. But after a year of lessons, suddenly one day he started being able to. And in each lesson from then on, the bridge got a little stronger and a little more consistent.
Two year ago I didn’t even know how to use GarageBand. (Well, I wasn’t a Mac user, either.) Now I record in Logic. I’m no expert, but… it’s just not that hard to learn enough basics to do what I need to do.
So, whether you are facing learning to play a musical instrument, how to use social media, how to do home recording, how to mix, how to sing, or how to write songs, here are two things to remember:
1) Learning the basics is often enough, at least for a while. Yes, it takes a LONG time to become an expert at something. But it takes a lot less time to just learn enough for whatever your purposes are. For example, it didn’t take me a long time to learn to play basic bass for a rock band. Sure, it’ll take a lot longer before I am a funk or jazz bass player, but in the meantime, I’m having fun.
2) Everything seems more difficult before you begin. Looking at Logic’s interface was intimidating at first. But now I know which few controls I need to pay attention to, and it seems much simpler. That mountain is not as big as it seems.
Just dive in and start.
What have you learned that seemed intimidating at first, but didn’t seem so hard once you got started?
(c) 2011 Adrienne Osborn