What motivates us in music?

By Jon Eno BEM

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"Motivation gets you going and habit gets you there"

Motivation is an interesting concept.  Motivation is often aligned heavily with practice.  Those who are practicing often are often described as being motivated, while those who practice infrequently are described as unmotivated.

It is true that there is a strong correlation; however, it is important to make a distinction between practice and motivation because one does not necessarily reflect the other.  For example, I might be motivated to do better but lack the ability to practice.  Conversely, I might be practicing a lot to prepare for an exam but lack the motivation because I am not enjoying the process.

Similarly, motivation does not simply equal practice.  Music is much more than practicing.  The desire to perform, to socialise and emulate others or have others emulate/ look-up to you, to be the best, to achieve something new.  The process of watching and listening to music and to participate in musical activities are all motivating factors, too.  I could keep listing, but I won’t… (motivation!)

From my own personal experiences, I remember in Year 11 visiting a theatre to watch something called Japanese Drumming.  At the time, I had no interest in drumming and little interest in the type of music that was being played.  Nevertheless, the experience was captivating.  To start with, you could feel the vibration of the drums while they played, feeling the emotion in their performance.  (In my opinion music is multisensory experience, not simply a listening one and this influences not only my teaching style but my performance style, too).  Moreover, they were acting while playing – they pretended to play a table tennis match explained in the stage art of hitting their drums with rhythmic precision.

The experience didn’t motivate me to play drums or practice more.  However, it did motivate me to appreciate the many aspects of a music performance and to try and adapt these in my own music; including how body language, facial expressions and acting all have an influence on the music performance.  Even if you are listening to a recording, telling a story through music (if the style allows) often produces a more appealing affect that a purely technical performance.  Music being relatable rather than an abstract, theoretical concept.  Making music motivates most.

The more musical experiences a student can be engaged within the more likely they will be motivated, and this is what HHMusic aims to offer.

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