My friend David works sixty hours a week. He gets to the factory at seven, looks down at his watch, and sees that in twelve hours time he'll be done. He does this five days a week. He sees those twelve hours as opportunity. He's saving up for a deposit on his dream house. He knows that at the end of it, it will all be worth it.
Imagine he didn't have a specific goal to work towards. Do you think he'd enjoy working 12 hour days, just to have more money, for no specific reason?
So how does this apply to you and your musical goals? Let me tell you how I got started with guitar to show you what I mean.
When I was about eleven years old, I went to summer camp where Irish is the only language permitted to be spoke. Not having any grasp of the Irish language and being painfully shy made for a potently anti-social combination. One experience in those weeks however, stuck with me.
In one of the big hall gatherings, one of the guitar players of the camp got up and played Sweet Child O' Mine. He played the lead at the start, the chords in the middle and even played the main solo on acoustic. He blew me away with his ability, and afterwards, I knew I wanted to be able to play like that, to go onstage and play as well as he did.
From then on, playing guitar was all I wanted to do. I got an old Spanish acoustic guitar, a dusty copybook full of songs and went to town. I played and played, finding new things to play, and each little victory spurred me on. I got a guitar teacher, and in 6 months he had taught me everything he knew. I got another teacher and kept going.
Do you think I would have progressed this fast if I just wanted to play for myself', or if I just thought playing guitar was neat? There's one reason why I can play like I can today, and that reason is I wanted to get up onstage and play some awesome guitar.
Every time I sat down to practice, I didn't see all the work ahead of me. I saw the look on all the faces when I blew them away with my Sweet Child O' Mine Rendition. Every piece I played alone in my room was played out in mind in front of all those people, on that very stage where I was first inspired to play.
I became obsessed with playing guitar. For the next two years, I practiced for at least an hour a day, every day. These practice session weren't boring. I visualised myself there, on that stage, looking out over the crowd. I saw the faces, felt the hard plastic chair, heard the echoes of the hall and I saw myself playing through that song and playing it flawlessly.
Every time I practiced was a performance that would ultimately lead to a real life performance. When I practiced I saw the result I wanted, not all the work I had to do to get there.
So why do you sit down to practice? Do you see those hours as an opportunity? Do you feel that at the end of the day, it will all be worth it? Or is practice a boring thing you have to do?
If you want to become a great guitar player, great songwriter or a great anything, you just need to know why you want it. And if that why is big enough, you'll have the answer to any how.
Let your practice become a performance every day, and your practice will be the part of your day you look forward to the most.