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4 Ways to Turn Mistakes Into Masterpieces

As students learn new songs, they sometimes become frustrated with challenges presented in the music. Although a student may enjoy the way the music sounds, tricky rhythms or unusual melodies sometimes present challenges that seem beyond the student’s ability. The art of musicianship is learning to take mistakes and change them into beautiful pieces of music. For musicians, mistakes may be wrong notes, incorrect rhythms, or inaccurate pitches. For musicians who are frustrated with their mistakes, here are four easy ways to transform mistakes into masterpieces.

Identify the Challenge

The best way to overcome musical mistakes is to tackle them one at a time. Once students identify the parts of the piece they feel comfortable playing, they can identify the challenge spots that need focused attention. At weekly lessons, students and instructors can focus on overcoming each challenge one by one.

Believe in Yourself

During the process of transforming mistakes into masterpieces, students need to be encouraged. Students must believe that they possess what it takes to overcome the challenge at hand. Encouragement may come from an instructor, a family member, or a friend. Simple words of encouragement such as “Great job!” or “That section sounds better today than it did yesterday” help students believe in themselves.

Another helpful encouragement tool is progress. Once students realize the progress they have already made in learning a new song, they gain momentum to help them continue to make progress. To see visual progress, students may highlight or “check off” the sections of the piece they can play well. To hear musical progress, students can use technology. Students can record their initial practice session and then compare their later practice sessions to their initial practice to determine the amount of progress they have made.

Invest Your Best

When students invest their best efforts, their progress occurs much quicker than half-hearted attempts at improvement. Best efforts involve dedicating consistent practice time. Additionally, it means students invest their best mental focus during practice sessions. Students who focus on the quantity of practice time but neglect the quality of practice become discouraged quickly with their lack of progress. To successfully turn musical mistakes into masterpieces, students must invest their best efforts at improvement.

Stick With It

In learning new skills, there is a critical decision point where students must decide if the challenge is worth the investment of time and effort to master the new skill. This decision point occurs in all areas of life: learning to ride a bike, learning to read, learning to play sports, and learning to play music. The main indicator of success is perseverance. Students who stick with it not only develop new skills, but gain increased confidence in their ability to overcome challenges. By transforming their mistakes into masterpieces, students achieve new musical success while simultaneously developing important life skills.

Contributor Kimberly Jones is a wife, mother, and the Director of the Dawson Music Academy at the Dawson Family of Faith.