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Progress is a Process – Why Musicians Should Never Stop Learning

by | Master Your Craft

Many musicians can easily list their top three inspirations that drove them to learn their instrument. It may take varying degrees of time and effort, but many musicians reach the level of proficiency that their icons possess sometime in their musical careers. This milestone can sometimes leave musicians feeling directionless or unmotivated. After all, if a football player trained his entire life to win the NFL and did so, indeed his journey is complete? Wrong. In this article, we’ll discuss a few concepts revolving around musical progress. Here some thoughts as to why musicians should never stop learning.

The Tipping Point

There is a strange phrase that most accomplished musicians go through at some point during their musical journey. Firstly, accomplishment doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a world-touring, chart-topping artist with sponsorships and endorsements (although if you are, great for you.). You could be an active session player at a recording studio or a popular Broadway show’s musical director.

Either way, at some point, you may wake up to head to your job and feel more unmotivated than usual to go to your job. Beyond the regular daily gripes of discomfort and travel, you may feel a sense of looming apathy that seems to trigger every time you think of your instrument. You might feel uninspired and still be creating regularly, which generates a complex dynamic for your creative juices. Don’t let these feelings get the better of you; several creatives have learned to navigate these tricky and ever-present mindsets.

The paradox of virtuosity is that it becomes devalued once experienced on a common scale. When you started your music training, you were most likely blown away watching your idols play their instrument. Once you’ve reached a level of music proficiency, you’re less likely to be impressed by other musicians, especially if their playing level is beneath yours. As a creative, you have to learn to stifle these mental habits and find ways to keep yourself intrigued in your instrument and craft.

The Company You Keep

Musicians can attribute a lot of their drive and motivation to their colleagues. Much like a sports team, having other people to play with enhances your learning substantially.

If you’re in a band or performing group, try to assess your place and purpose in the project. If your colleagues are up to the task, try to organize intimate playing or learning sessions with the players you best click with. You can try to instigate social sessions where your team asks each other musical questions about the band, theory, and their respective instruments. More often than not, you’ll find that someone within your musical circle provides you with an insight that you would not discover if you were all rehearsing for a show or upcoming performance. Also, try to ensure that everyone in your group is on the same playing level, and if that means bringing someone up to speed with you, then so be it. Having a group of musicians at your playing level and who share the same motives will help keep you interested in improving your instrument.

Rattle The Cage

Musicians that find themselves stuck in a rut can benefit significantly from creating strict changes in their routines and musical environment. Many successful musicians completely reinvented themselves well into the career to maintain a sense of evolution. A common practice for stunted musicians is learning about a genre that vastly differs from what they play daily. Studying other music styles will provide you with a diverse and unique arsenal of music habits that will enhance your composition and performance capabilities. Supposing you’re in a funk band, you may want to learn about Latin-fusion to improve your groove and articulation as well as expand your musical vocabulary. You may feel out of place when trying to apply your conventional training to these new styles, but the trick is to approach them as if you were a student at the beginning phase of your music career.

Reach out online

The internet supplies us with incredibly instant access to information and interaction with several online communities. Several music forums and groups on various platforms share tips and advice on how to improve any areas of your musicality. Many online schools offer courses and one-on-one sessions to provide expert advice on any specific questions you may have relating to your playing or music knowledge.

Lastly, services like Youtube offer unlimited free access to all kinds of music-related video content. You can use these services to look up most music-related questions, learn compositions or laying techniques, and even connect with other players or teachers. It’s relatively easy to acquire a teacher or musical advisor above your level of competence as a musician through an online community.

Final Thoughts

Apathy can be a very destructive element in any musician’s perspective. Our very nature as human beings drives us towards creating better versions of ourselves, and music is a more wholesome means to do so. As much as we’d like to believe that we can, no instrument can be perfected. There will always be a new method to creating some unique sound, and having faith in this concept is vital to maintaining your passion and evolution as a musician. Thanks for reading our thoughts as to why musicians should never stop learning. We hope this piece leaves you motivated and inspired to keep growing and never stop creating.

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