Don’t Learn to Play an Instrument

Presumably, knowing how to play music with an instrument or taking bongos lessons is fulfilling. Allegedly, it is good for the soul and heartening to the spirit. It has been suggested that the creative effort of making music activates and strengthens part of your brain that other creative skills do not touch, so it is good for the mind. At least that’s what they say!

After not learning to play, throughout my life, piano, flute, drums, and banjo, I’ve become something of an expert. That doesn’t even include things like recorder and harmonica, also toyed with but not learned. I can help you make sure that you won’t learn a DAMN THING.

yo yo banjo

Don’t Practice

This is the first and most important action you can take to ensuring a talentless musical existence. People who are good at playing music or teach others to play music like to point out that it’s important to practice every day. It doesn’t have to be that hard, they say, just do it for 30 minutes before bed.

To be absolutely certain that you get this goal right, skip days periodically whenever you can. Sometimes, skip a few in a row. Scatter those voids around.

Make Up Band Names Instead

You’ll be extremely excited that you will soon be a master of your chosen form of music, after all that hard practice work you should be doing. Be sure to spend a portion of time, every day, making up as many band names as you can. Include your friends in this endeavor. Start a group-access shared document of the names.

Spending all of this creative energy on imagining possible bands will leave you too tired, and too satisfied feeling, to bother picking up your instrument!

Neglect Instrument

Treat your instrument as poorly as you would a used plastic gift from a wacky aunt. Let it rust, go out of tune. If you find yourself actually practicing, trying to gain an interesting new skill, you’ll have no idea if you’re doing it right once you hear the sound of your broken tool.

Better yet, let it break. It will guarantee that you won’t ever be able to play, good or bad. Bonus points if you’re like me at age 15, wishing I could play drums but using them sold little that my mom sold them out from under me. (Just kidding, I was clearly nowhere near them when they were sold.)

Also, make sure not to name it. That will only make you care more.

Melissa's flute from 5th grade

image: “Did this give you tetanus?” – instrument repair shop guy

Reject Information Fear

Without instructional books, YouTube videos, in-person lessons, or whatever learning style floats your boat, you’re stuck with two things: your confidence and your fear.

Which will win as you try, alone, to play scales on an oboe or a new beat on drums, while people can hear you? They are always going to be listening, making Comments to themselves, or to each other via internet chat. Think about the things they will be saying.

Sneer Back

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