Which of the following describe your motivations for studying/making music? Be completely honest.
1. It’s an attention getter . . . makes me feel important.
2. It attracts members of the opposite sex.
3. I’m being sort of pressured to do it (parents, band director, peer group, etc).
4. It sure beats washing cars (comparative approach).
5. Sounds like a lot of fun!
6. I just want to see if I can do it.
7. I admire people who can do it; their skill awes me and scares me.
8. It has always fascinated me . . . a sort of magic.
9. It’s a creative skill, worth the effort.
10. It’s a creative democracy that can be collectively exciting and communicative in group situations.
11. To avoid inertia. When I am not involved in creative practice, performance, or study, I feel unfulfilled and sense an emptiness.
12. I am compelled, even obsessed with working at it all the time . . . I can’t explain it, exactly, but the drive to do it is undeniable.
13. Creative music is a God-given gift and therefore divine. It lifts the hearts of performer and listener alike. I must be a part of the activity!
Motivations 1-4 are weak reasons for studying music and won’t buoy you for long. Motivations 5-8 are better reasons and might indicate that, as time passes, your motivations might improve. Motivations 9-13 are best for the study of music; they will carry you through a lifetime of continuous development. Use them as reminders, if and when your efforts begin to sag.
Survey taken from Jerry Coker, How To Practice Jazz, New Albany, IN: Jamey Aebersold, 1990.