How to flow while playing a musical instrument

In this article, you will learn how to apply the HAPPY Way to playing a simple musical instrument. In particular, I’m focusing on learning to play a simple instrument called the lyre but the principles can apply to any instrument.

Playing an instrument can be a joyful experience especially when you’ve been practising for decades but even then, it can be frustrating when you are trying to learn a new piece of music or are just having an off day.

And if you’re starting out, you’re more likely to experience more off days and more frustration so here’s how I apply the HAPPY Way to have a more joyful experience whatever happens!

H stands for Honour the body. Play with the instrument when you feel like doing it. If you don’t feel like it, don’t do it. Also realise when your body is starting to ache and respect that… and take a break.

A stands for Awareness, particularly of the non-judgemental kind. So just pluck, strum and twang without judging. Enjoy the experience and don’t judge yourself or the sound. The more you do it, the more you’ll learn and develop your skill. You can follow a score but I prefer to just do it without any plan.

P stands for Practice. Do it regularly, daily or whatever. Immerse yourself in it regularly and you’ll develop the skill you desire.

P stands for Play. So experiment, try different things, don’t worry about making mistakes. When you make mistakes, that is when you grow and learn.

Y stands for Yield. Some techniques are just too difficult, so don’t bother with them and go with the stuff that you enjoy doing. I love listening to arpeggios but I just do not want to practice them so I play in different ways.

Here’s a short video of me practising.

So grab your lyre, guitar or flute, and just have fun!

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