Monday, January 8, 2024

M.O.D.E. - A Self-Guided Tour

Embarking on a musical journey is a rewarding endeavor, but the path to mastery can be intricate and challenging, especially when attempting to navigate it without a compass of self-awareness. The ability to self-guide through the intricate world of music demands a profound understanding of one's own strengths, weaknesses, and emotional responses to the learning process. Without the crucial skill of assessing one's own situation, aspiring musicians may find themselves adrift, unsure of how to plot a course that aligns with their unique needs and goals

Here are six key aspects of self-awareness, applicable to musical instances:

  1. Reflection: Example: After a practice session, a musician reflects on the challenges faced while learning a new piece. They consider how their emotions, such as frustration or excitement, influenced their focus and performance.

  2. Emotional Intelligence: Example: During a group rehearsal, a musician notices that they feel tense when receiving feedback on their playing. They work on managing these emotions, understanding that constructive criticism is meant to help them improve.

  3. Mindfulness: Example: A musician practices mindfulness by focusing on the sensations of playing an instrument. They pay attention to the touch of the keys or strings, the sound produced, and their breath, fostering a deeper connection to the music.

  4. Feedback: Example: Seeking feedback from a music teacher or peers, a musician learns that they tend to rush the tempo during certain passages. This feedback helps them become aware of a specific area for improvement in their playing.

  5. Values and Beliefs: Example: A musician reflects on their musical values and realizes that they are passionate about conveying emotion through their playing. This awareness influences their song selection and interpretation, aligning their music with their core values.

  6. Self-Concept: Example: A musician acknowledges that they excel in playing expressive and lyrical pieces but struggle with technical exercises. This balanced self-concept allows them to set realistic practice goals that address both strengths and weaknesses.

It can be easy to get lost within the notes on the page. We just have to always be aware that the notes may end up on the page, but they start within the body. Someone felt it and wrote it down, or recorded it, so we could feel it, too.

Finding guidance outside of yourself is fairly simple compared with self-guiding through a quest to level-up. Self-motivation is just the beginning, we have to figure out what to work on, in what order, for what reason, and how?

These are some of the areas that we'll explore at Expedition Dulcimer, with the idea that you'll not only indeed level-up skill-wise, but that you'll also become even more aware of your connection to the music, and bring a new mindfulness to every moment that you spend in practice.

Here's to the future!


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