How To Stay Motivated to Play Your Saxophone
When you first start to learn how to play the saxophone, it is exciting. In the beginning, motivation to play your saxophone is not a problem. You just KNOW that you will be a rock star in no time !
Potentially, however, that initial enthusiasm and saxophone motivation might wear off. Maybe in a few months, maybe in a year, maybe in a couple of years, but at some point you might just find yourself losing the motivation to play your sax.
So, how do you keep your saxophone motivation ?
Firstly, please do not stress or worry about your saxophone playing. Please do not put unnecessary pressure on yourself.
The problem with us adults is that we know what we think playing a musical instrument SHOULD sound like. We’ve been listening to music, records, cassettes, CDs and songs on the radio for decades – we have our favourite songs, our favourite bands, we’ve been to gigs and concerts, we’ve stopped to listen to buskers on the street, or random musicians in the pub that we just happened to stop in with some friends.
And when we cannot immediately replicate what we hear or see we get frustrated, then slowly wander off avoiding eye contact….
The Trick Is To “Just Play”.
Please do NOT “practice” !!
Just play your saxophone.
This is why my motto/slogan here at HowToPlayTheSax.com is to “have fun, play saxophone, be awesome, repeat” – in that order.
If you are not having fun then you won’t play your sax.
If you don’t play your sax, you therefore have less of a chance of being awesome (you still are awesome, obviously, but perhaps in different ways and for different reasons).
If you don’t repeat the whole process then you won’t improve as quickly.
In short, it’s a self fulfilling and self perpetuating prophesy.
Maintaining your saxophone playing motivation can be as simple as the subtle mindset shift of “playing”, not “practicing”.
Look back, but also look forward.
Think of what you HAVE achieved, rather than what you have not.
How long ago did you first pick up your saxophone ? Weeks ? Months ? years ? Compare yourself then to what you can do now. I suspect that you might surprise yourself.
Set yourself some realistically achievable goals. Learn the riff to “that” song, aim to be able to play “this” song by the end of the month.
You may not completely understand, but your efforts thus far have taken extreme guts, determination, skill, sheer awesomeness and a considerable amount of repeating. Well done and bravo to you !!!
You went to the effort of making a conscious and deliberate effort to learn how to play the sax. You were most likely a little bit out of your comfort zone, but because you were having some fun YOU DID IT. Amazing. Many others didn’t do it….
Good on you for jumping around to different songs. So you should !!!
Sorry for the small child analogy, and obviously you are not a child, but toddlers do fall over more than they want to as they are learning to walk.
Some little toddlers try running first !! And they fall over – a lot. But they do get up and keep going.
Our adult brains are mostly logical – we usually do think “crawl, walk, jog, run, run faster, run further, sprint, marathon”.
But when we begin a new thing, such as playing a saxophone, it is easy to jump ahead, fall down, not succeed as quickly as we may wish, find playing that particular song difficult and slowly lose motivation. It is actually much easier to lose our saxophone motivation than perhaps we might prefer…..
The solution is, as mentioned above, is to just “play”.
Yes, there are some particular things that you should play every time you pick up your saxophone, even if only for a few minutes – such as long notes and slow scales.
It is easy to kill these birds with one stone by playing long slow scales !
But then you should head straight to the dessert bar and play what ever YOU want to play, be that song X, or song Y.
Set Yourself Some Realistic Saxophonically Delicious Goals
Don’t beat yourself up if you have not been invited to join the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra just yet.
One step at a time !!
Play a song that you enjoyed last week, last month, last year. Find a song that you might like to work on and give it a go – several times over several playing sessions over the next week or two.
Some songs are easier than others. Challenge yourself, but also make it easy for yourself too….and this is what I am trying to do with my lessons here inside the Members Area at HowToPlayTheSax.com .
Be aware it is unlikely that you – or anyone else – will succeed with a particular song, or riff, or musical phrase the very first time.
It does take a few attempts before you will get it. But, you will get there !
Do NOT compare Yourself To Others
It is difficult, but comparing yourself to others can be dangerous – and a sure way to lose the motivation to play your saxophone.
Aspire, yes !
But compare, no.
There are quite a few other Members here who have played guitar, or keyboard, or piano, or drums, or sung, or <insert musical instrument here> for decades and have decided to add saxophone to their repertoire. These people have a bit of an unfair advantage in that musical experience can translate across from one instrument to another relatively easily.
However, most of the Members here do not have decades of multi-instrumental musical experience just yet….. the vast majority of our Awesome Members have never played a musical instrument before. They want to learn their favourite songs on the saxophone, which is why they are here.
Please consider what you have done with your late start to playing saxophone to be simply incredible and extremely impressive. Please keep playing your sax !
I wrote a couple of blog posts a while ago that may offer some simple suggestions towards keeping up your saxophone motivation:
Play Music With Others
Do you have any friends or family who play guitar or piano – or any other musical instrument ?
Playing your sax with another musician is a GREAT way to keep up your saxophone motivation.
Whether that other musician is physically in the same room as you, or is a recording of your favourite band or song makes no real difference. Playing along with someone else can be extremely motivating !
Quite simply, in order to maintain your saxophone motivation, you must simply make sure that you have fun, play saxophone, be awesome and repeat.
Please stay safe, stay healthy…..and keep playing your saxophone !!
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P.S. If you would like simple step by step instructions to help you learn how to play your favourite Rock, Soul, Funk and Blues songs on the saxophone:
- all neatly organised in the one convenient location,
- all provided by an experienced saxophone teacher who can help you to play the music that YOU want to play quickly and easily,
- without reading music,
- all available when ever it suits YOU (rather than when it suits someone else),
- with a forum community to ask questions and receive (and give) answers
then check out our saxophone lessons membership options. Get started on your saxophone journey today !
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