5 Ways Learning To Play An Instrument Will Provide Great Insight To Life

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Back in high school, nothing embarrassed me more than carrying around my violin case. Even though I should have been working on my music every night after school, I would sometimes go days without practicing, just to avoid being seen with a violin in my hands.

It sounds kind of crazy, but I was terrified of being labeled as a nerd and I hated explaining it to my "cool" friends, who never seemed to understand why I took orchestra so seriously.

It took a while, but finally I got over caring what other people thought. Besides, it’s kind of hard to hide a violin case, so eventually, it was time to either own it or move on.

I came to realize how important playing the violin was for shaping me as an individual and to be proud of it. If you're a musician, maybe you can relate. If you're not, maybe this will inspire you to pick up an instrument. It's never too late, you know.

Here are five things that playing an instrument has taught me about life:

1. No one else will do it for you.

This is also known as discipline. The thing about learning an instrument is that all of the pressure is always on you. For some people, this is too much to handle; for others, it can be insanely empowering and freeing.

You are the only obstacle standing in the way of becoming better. Making excuses or trying to blame someone or something else is darn near impossible when the only solution is simply dedicating hours and hours of time to perfecting your own skills. No one can do that but you.

2. Give up the lead every now and then.

Playing music in a group setting, whether it's with one or eight other people, teaches you how to collaborate. Violinists are known for being a bit headstrong when it comes to taking charge.

An "I'm bossy" attitude, however, doesn't always create the most beautiful music. While having the confidence to lead a band or orchestra is important, it's just as important to know when to back off and blend in.

3. Sh*t happens.

When you're playing live music, sh*t is bound to happen -- scary sh*t -- like breaking strings, forgetting notes and even tripping on stage. It's easy to let slip-ups and mistakes throw you off balance (literally), but you shouldn't let them (figuratively).

Good musicians know how to roll with the punches and move on quickly because if they don't, the whole performance is at stake. If you hit one wrong note, who cares? On to the next one, and the next one, and the next one.

In the grand scheme of things, one bad note won’t ruin an entire performance unless you let it.

4. Being creative is really hard sometimes.

I love the Thomas Edison quote, “Genius is 99 percent perspiration and 1 percent inspiration.” It's so true.

Don't wait for creativity to find you — go hunt it down like your life depends on it.

Any talented musician will tell you that he or she didn't become a great player after some magical rush of inspiration. Getting good at anything requires a lot of hard work and more importantly, a lot of flailing, awkward, messy moments before you finally get it right.

5. It's okay to spend some (actually, a lot) of time alone.

Like I said, no one became the best at anything overnight. And, no one became the best at anything by talking about it or daydreaming about it, either. Spending some time alone — whether it be to practice an instrument or anything else — is necessary for you to get better at your craft.

Instead of being afraid to put your head down and do the work, get excited about what it means for the future and how it will all pay out in the long run. I guarantee you won't regret it.

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