Let's talk motivation! In particular, motivating factors. These will vary from individual to individual. In this post, I'm specifically talking music, but perhaps these concepts can be applied to almost any goal you're looking to accomplish. After several years, I'm finally starting to see some progress in my goals that I had previously tried countless times before and had been unsuccessful. Ever since college, which was a long time ago, I have been trying to learn how to play jazz piano on and off. Now, all these years later, I'm finally starting to get it! What's different this time? I think it can be attributed to 2 factors:
One, I think I'm motivated by what I consider "pretty" melodies and harmonies and
Two, identifying what kind of learner I am and applying this to help me understand certain concepts
This post in particular is mainly geared towards adult learners or ones who have already learned the basics in music and just want to go further. I don't want to discount the fact that you actually do need to learn the basics and have a foundation to work from.
Recently, in my jazz goals, I have probably started with something maybe unconventional, starting off with trying to learn very complicated music. Why would I do this? Why not start simple, then work myself up? Well, I have figured out that I don't get motivated that way. One of the ways I am motivated in music is by what I consider good songs! Even if a song is simple and if I don't think it's "pretty," I will less likely want to get on the piano and practice it. As a result, I won't improve or progress. In contrast, some are motivated by achieving incremental goals, starting small, successfully achieving that single objective, then going to the next level and so on. I've tried it this way in the past and it just never worked for me, but this might be the best strategy for you! The point is, figure out what motivates you to help you achieve your own goals. Motivating factors are individual.
Next, think about what kind of learner you are. Are you an auditory learner, one who learns best by hearing? Or a visual learner, one who learns best by seeing? Or a kinesthetic learner, one who learns best by doing? Or a learner who learns best by reading and writing? This is a very brief, elementary version of explaining learning styles. There has been countless studies and a lot more information is out there, but I won't get into them here. There are a few more learning styles, however these are the main ones. The main doctrine of the theory behind learning styles is how one can learn, "best," although you can learn from a learning style that is not your dominant one. I think figuring out which type of learner you are may help with achieving your goals. I have identified myself as a visual and a kinesthetic learner. Those are the ways I learn best. The standard approach in jazz music is auditory learning, listening to the music and being able to play it just by listening and a "reading-type" of learning, which consists of lead sheets with chords and sheet music with vary little notation. No wonder I had a hard time! It's hard for me to learn that way. So since I know I learn best by "doing" and "seeing" I have geared my training to incorporate my learning style. This has helped me tremendously because I can now begin to grasp which were once before very tough concepts for me.
I am convinced pinpointing these two factors have made all the difference in the world for me.