The Music Challenge Project
I know many people who have gone out and bought a musical instrument because they were inspired by a particular song or performer. The majority of these people showed amazing ability, but ended up consigning the instrument to the loft because they could only get ¾ of the way through their favourite piece, or felt their performance was only an approximation of the original song.
I also hear from many who had music lessons as a child and for one reason or another gave up and have since regretted it, thinking that if you don’t learn when you are young, there is no point.
- Do you sing when no one is around?
- Do you play the air guitar after a few beers?
- Have you always wanted to make music?
- Do you have an instrument gathering dust in the back of a cupboard?
- Have you tried to play an instrument, but found it unrewarding and pointless?
- Did you enjoy lessons as a child, but gave up because it became boring?
- Are you looking for an achievable, fun goal in your life?
- Are you fed up with watching TV every evening because there is nothing else to do?
- Would you like to raise money for your favourite cause?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions then here is a story which might inspire you:
A group of friends were chatting in the pub about the meaning of life – once you have ticked all the usual ‘accomplishment’ boxes. Own home, car, kids, etc. They all agreed that there was more to life than all the above. They also agreed on a deep desire to be able to make music and regretted that they had never had the chance to learn, or had given up when they were younger. So they each chose an instrument, decided on a song and made a pact that in exactly one year they would return to the pub as a group and perform this song.
They bought and borrowed instruments had lessons and practised. They met whenever they could to rehearse. Friends, family and colleagues were eager to see if they could rise to their challenge.
One year later, back in their local pub, packed with well wishers and curious friends, they took to the stage and performed not one song, but 12 songs and stunned their friends with their abilities. They had also made a recording of their efforts which they sold on the night, giving all proceeds to charity.
The joy of music making has stayed with this group of people, but it’s not just the musical accomplishment that has been rewarding. They now have real experience of the power of goals, the power of positive attitude, friendship and community.
As a teacher I am well aware of the importance of goal setting and positive attitude, but the end goal of being able to play an instrument often gets lost in the sea of scales, boring tunes and exams. There are too many goals to reach, none of which seem very inspiring. If the group of people in the story had vowed to play 12 songs at the end of the year, they may not have achieved their goal because it would not have felt achievable at the start of their journey. This is why so many people feel that they have or will fail when it comes to learning a musical instrument. The end goal seems too far off and too difficult.
This is why I decided to run the music challenge project. I want you to experience the joy of learning music, and I want you to believe in yourself and your ability to reach your goal. In this project I see myself as the coach and enabler. You are the achiever. You are the musician.
The challenge is this:
Learn to play your favourite piece, whatever it may be, from classical to rock, traditional to garage, on your chosen instrument in just a few months. Create a complete, unique version of your song using state of the art equipment and produce a CD of your work. Finally, perform your version live in front of a supportive audience.
The Music Challenge Project is open to both adults and children: