Yes You Can!

by Sarah McSweeney on November 15, 2011

A question I am frequently asked is “Do you think anyone can learn how to sing/play an instrument?” I always
answer with a resounding “Yes!” I strongly believe that we are all born with an ability as innate as talking, to feel and express through music. If you can feel, you can be musical. After all, what is at the root of all great music? Feeling and expression! Why do we love the artists that we do? Because
they make us feel something. We are moved either by lyrics, mode, chord progressions, rhythm, or melody. As the emotional human beings that we are, we can all relate to feelings that are evoked through music.

The main difference, in my opinion, between the average Joe and those who possess a seemingly natural
musical “talent” are the combination of two things: commitment and desire. I continually remind my students (as well as myself) to put their time in with their instrument EVERY day. It’s not enough to just want to be good, and
hope that we’ll learn through osmosis. This culture in particular wants immediate results. New beginners sometimes come to their first lesson expecting to play like Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin, or Bon Jovi, and are often disappointed and surprised when they realize that a couple of lessons will not give those immediate results.
If we take a close look at all of those fantastic and incredibly talented musicians we admire and aspire to play like, we will discover that in most cases they have dedicated hours of practice everyday…for years! Sure, there are some exceptionally gifted musicians that can pick up any instrument and learn it with ease, and learn it
quickly. But even those exceptionally talented folks have put their daily time in. With some good instruction, a person can excel even quicker, but still, there must be that desire and dedication to stick with it through those days
when dedicated practicing doesn’t seem to produce any visible results or improvement.

Nothing beats private instruction from a qualified professional, but there is a lot one can do just by surfing
the web these days. For vocal instruction I highly recommend Brett Manning’s 12 cd compilation “Singing
Success”( ) .

Youtube has some informative and thorough instruction for guitar strumming and finger picking. My good
friend and excellent guitar player Matthew Dixon has also put together a fantastic booklet for guitar instruction.
(Check out )

If you put some time into searching, you’ll find the instruction you’re looking for. Surrounding yourself with other musicians is another great way to pick up new ideas, inspiration, and technique.

In what ever you aspire to, it really all comes down to the magical combination of commitment and desire. Combine those two and you’re destined to have great success in whatever you do!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Donna Aloia November 17, 2011 at 9:11 am

…Well I wanted to share on this .You know ,as you are my music instructor ,that I have a love for music . I discovered music later in life ,and I have found it to be a true passion of mine now . Also in unveiling this passion I have ,since the finding that music is also therapy , added to my menu at my Healing Arts Center… “SOUND HEALING” . It was you who discovered ,or helped let and point this out in me ! When ,while during one of our lessons I hit a D Maj 7 chord and loved the sound so much, I could not stop playing it . Upon me finding that chord ,you had said “Oh you found your healing tone ” Well I went home after that lesson and went on a tear looking up Sound Therapy ,Healing Tones,Music Therapy etc. And now at age 50 (yes I said the F word) I am now a Sound Healer, Facilitator, and integrating Sound with my Massage practice . Also another day I went in for my lesson you said “I think you are ready to compose a song ” and I did ! I never even suspected that was on the agenda . My music in my life is taking me beyond anything I would have imagined Thank you Sarah !


Sarah McSweeney January 31, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Hey Donna! You’re a fantastic example of how sticking with something through all the learning curves and frustration produces concrete results. It’s remarkable how your commitment to keeping music in your life has branched out in so many different directions. May your tree continue to sprout new roots!

Many More Musical Blessings to You!


Donna Aloia March 16, 2012 at 9:50 pm

I just read your reply to my reply ..(it is March 16 th ) .. This was done on or posted on my birthday ! What a fantabulous birthday affirmation !!!!!!!!!! I feel so much clarity and focus and it is because of the MUSIC!


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