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June 22, 2014

The one thing you need to become an organist or anything else as an adult



Persistence is the key to learning something new. Taking up something new as an adult can be a challenge. Here are some situations that you may need to persist through:

  • Reaching your goal may take longer than you want it to or you ever dreamed. When I started organ lessons a few years ago, I’d thought I would be playing for a church within a year or two!
  • You may not be your teacher’s best student.
  • There will be people younger than you that can do it better than you. Remember to not compare your journey to someone else’s.
  • Questions. You will get many questions. How much longer will you need to take lessons? Why are you still taking lessons? Why didn’t you pick something easier? Why are doing that?
  • There may be barriers to overcome to get started. I had to find a teacher and then an organ to practice on. I was fortunate that the first potential teacher I asked said yes!

PersistenceWhy do we need Persistence?

We need persistence to keep going. Without it, we would give up. When the questions come about our new activity, and we start to wonder why are we doing it anyway, we’d quit. There may be times when you feel like you are not going to get it. You may feel defeated. If the new activity is something you want to master (regardless of how long it is taking), persistence gets you through the difficult periods.

What Persistence looks like

Susan Cain states in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking that “Persistence isn’t very glamorous”. Persistence means it is going to take time. Here are some suggestions:

  •  Continue to take action. Keep practicing and learning. Only thinking about what you want to do someday will not make it happen.
  • Build daily habits and routines. Find a time where you can practice for at least 15 or 30 minutes a day. This is easier said then done, as this is something I struggle to do. It is much easier to write about persisting than to live it out!
  • Record the time spent on your practicing and learning. This will show how a little bit of persistence each day adds up over time. I write my time in on a calendar. In the past I used a larger full year calendar. This year I am using a monthly calender and a notebook.
  • Take one step at a time. I needed to learn the basics of organ playing before I could learn to play a complete hymn.
  • Do what your teacher and/or mentors tell you to do. They are the teacher for a reason!

Persistence Fortune CookieI once received a message in a fortune cookie that said “Your persistence will pay off”. Now, I do not believe in fortune telling, but this is great advice, regardless of the source!

Do you struggle with persistence? Is there anything you have been learning for a while? Also, feel free to share stories persistence success stories in your comments.

January 12, 2014

2013 recap and plans for 2014

Lift App Practice Musical Instrument

2013 is now history and with it comes the obligatory year in review post!

Completed 2013 NeuYear Calendar

Completed 2013 NeuYear Calendar

2013 Highlights:

Plans for 2014:

  • Schedule at least 8 organ lessons with Michael.
  • I’d like to have the Anonymous Repair Man come again as there are a few more issues to be fixed.
  • Continue to track my practice time (more on this below).
  • Determine how I can improve this blog (more on this below).
  • Aim for practice sessions of at least 45 minutes. According to The Bullet Proof Musician 45 minutes may be the ideal length for adults.

Tracking my practice sessions:

In 2013, I started tracking my practice times on a NeuYear 2′ x 3′ calendar. In the photo, you can see every day that I practiced or had an organ lesson. As the year went on I became lazy. Instead of filling in the calendar after every practice session, I’d transfer the times that I had recorded in a spiral notebook that I keep at the organ bench. I didn’t keep up with large calendar habit for two reasons:

  1. The calender is on the back side of the door in my home office. This door is usually open which means I didn’t see it often.
  2. The calender was to far away from the organ to be convenient.
Lift App Practice Musical Instrument

Practice Musical Instrument in Lift App

In 2014, I will be using a traditional calendar with a page for each month. This one is has a cute cat picture for each month (thanks, Mom!). The cat calendar will be kept on my organ bench. I will also keep recording in my spiral notebook since this habit precedes 2013.

In addition, I am also tracking my practice days with the Lift app. Lift is a free app for tracking any habit or goal on a daily basis. I like that it includes charts and gives encouraging reminders. I am currently riding a 20 day streak for Practice Musical Instrument!

Blog Improvement:

First, Thank you for your continued support and for reading this blog. Your support is encouraging and helps me to keep writing and sharing my experiences. If you know someone who may be interested, please share this site with them.

Where would you like to see this blog go in 2014? What suggestions do you have? How can I provide you with more value? I have been attempting to pull a practice lesson out of each organ lesson that can be applied to everyone’s life. Do you like these “inspirational” posts?

Would you like to see some videos with my cats at the organ bench while I practice? Even though I am not a great organist (yet), perhaps the videos will help expose the organ to more people.

Feel free to comment with your suggestions for 2014 or send an email using the contact form. Or if you are reading this post in an email you can reply to the email and I should receive it. If you did not receive this blog post in an email, but would like to receive future posts via email, please subscribe at the top right of this page.

I hope your 2014 is off to a great start!