30-Day Trial of Learning Music

October 25th, 2011 by Steve Pavlina

The Subjective Reality Workshop this past weekend was very rewarding. I smile when I think back on all the amazing people who came together to explore SR as a group. After doing 6 Conscious Growth Workshops in a row, it was a special experience to deliver a new workshop this time.

This was the first time I’ve talked about subjective reality in depth with more than a few people. I really loved the energy of this particular group. With about half of the attendees being alumni from previous CGWs, it felt like a big family reunion.

We officially ended at 4pm on Sunday, but I didn’t leave the meeting room until about 6:30. Many people hung around afterwards to ask more questions, share stories, and to offer feedback and suggestions. A few people told me afterwards that they were sad to see it end and would have loved to go for 4-5 days instead of just 3 days. I can see how SRW could be extended into a longer workshop. At present there are no specific plans to do another one, but I’m open to it happening sometime in 2012.

Personal growth workshops can provide intense transformational experiences for those who attend them, including the facilitator. It typically takes me about a week to make sense of how each workshop impacted me, but I’m already seeing how SRW’s lessons are unfolding, so I wanted to share some about that. This shouldn’t be a surprise to those who attended the workshop, since I already discussed this with the group on Sunday.

For quite a while I’ve been thinking about exploring music in some fashion, such as learning to play an instrument. This isn’t something I’ve really explored before, so I have very little experience. When it comes to music, I don’t even know what I don’t know, nor do I have a clear sense of what I’d enjoy, so I’m not in a position to set a crisp goal or to define a particular desired result.

The more I ponder it, the more my reality keeps affirming that this is a path worthy of exploration. In lieu of contemplating it for a few more years, I’ve decided to commit to a 30-day trial of exploring and learning about music for 1-2 hours per day.

My musical knowledge is so limited that I wouldn’t even know how to map out what to do each day, so I’ll simply follow the guidance that shows up as I go along, whether it comes in the form of inspiration, a seemingly logical next step, or help from others who are musically inclined.

The trial is already underway in fact. I started on Monday, so this is Day 2. So far I’ve spent some time sharing this intention, I read a little about music theory online and discussed it with some people, and I bookmarked some resources that people shared with me. I installed a couple of keyboard simulator apps on my iPad, and I ran Garage Band for the first time (pre-installed on my MacBook Pro) to poke around with it. I installed a 1.2 GB file of loops for it when the program prompted me to do so.

This is a totally exploratory trial. I have no set agenda or end goal in mind. I simply want to learn more about music, both mentally and experientially. I’m not attached to any particular outcome here.

Some people asked what kind of instrument I might like to learn, but I can’t answer that with any certainty. If I had to choose, I’d say that I feel most drawn to learning to create some kind of compositions with computer software. I don’t feel drawn to learn the guitar, piano, or any specific physical instrument.

My favorite style of music is electronic, so the computer seems like a logical choice for exploring that. Depeche Mode is by far my favorite band of all time, and I probably listen to their music more than all other groups combined. Some other favorites include New Order, Erasure, Duran Duran, Anything Box, Sting, The Smiths, Enya, Pet Shop Boys, REM, and The Cure.

If I were going to learn how to compose something on my own, electronic would be my preference.

Other than being able to play a few simple songs on a keyboard like Mary Had a Little Lamb and some basic recorder lessons in grammar school 30 years ago, I haven’t learned how to play any instruments.

I’m left-handed, so I’m not sure if that makes it much different to learn to play a keyboard or piano than it would be for a right-hander.

Several musicians have already shared some advice and tips on where to begin, so I imagine I may spend a few days just exploring various resources people have suggested — reading articles, learning some music theory, trying out software, and messing around a bit. I’ll see how it goes.

I probably won’t blog about this day by day, but I’m happy to share some updates along the way if I think I have something interesting to share.

One reason I’m doing this is to explore another way to express myself creatively. Music seems like a good choice for that.

For now I’m committing to a 30-day trial for education and exploration, so I can learn a little something about music and invite new learning experiences into my life. I expect that this will be an interesting path to explore regardless of what, if anything, I might be able to learn and accomplish in only 30 days.


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