Become A Musician With Your Own Unique Voice

Here are some valuable tips for how to become a musician with your own unique Voice and Vibe.

It’s not an exhaustive list, but they add up and will ultimately distinguish YOU from everybody else.

1. You can become a musician…

when you realize nobody can cause this transformation but you.

There are great  teachers around, but they can only guide and suggest. You have to want it badly enough to cut off the TV, internet and social agenda.
Only you can do the work.

2. You can become a musician…

when you can learn from everybody.
Immature egos shut down the ability to learn. There is much to know about playing, hearing, writing and recording music.
You are smart to learn from any experienced musicians, even if their styles are different from yours.
Put your attitude away and learn all you can.

3. You can become a musician…

when you know the difference between Musician and Performer.
Elvis Presley openly admitted he knew nothing about music, yet he sold millions of albums. Figure out if you are a Musician, a Performer, or both?

4. You can become a musician…

when you realize your instrument has a history.
Learn from those who came before you. Very rarely does someone come along and take an instrument in a new direction without having learned from the Masters.

Find out how your instrument is linked to the past.

Here is a quote in the Oxford University Press blog, from professor David Gonzol:

“All the best professional and amateur musicians, from Ella Fitzgerald to Paul McCartney, Adolph Herseth to Johann Sebastian Bach and Clara Schumann to Jean Ritchie, all made sure to know their field thoroughly and well. They knew their own performing skills, other performers, the repertoire, the history, the theory, the business, the culture, the people, everything. One can sing a melody or play a harmony, only if one really understands how those melodies or harmonies have been valued in their particular culture. How they have been performed, thought about, composed, improvised, listened to, danced to and worshipped to. Truly successful musicians understand all their music because they worked hard at becoming terrifically well-rounded. As cellist Lynn Harrell once said to a sixth-grade boy, ‘There are no shortcuts.’”

5. You can become a musician…

when you don’t label and limit yourself too soon.
Keep an open mind. Yes, you may be the world’s next cowbell star… but you probably should learn to play a few other percussion instruments too.
Everything you learn will add a different flavor to your sound.
All the little differences, experiences and nuances add up to create your vibe.

6. You can become a musician…

when you learn to PRACTICE.
It took me until 30 yrs old to practice effectively. Now, I get more done in 30 minutes than I would have before in 2 hours.

Here is a 7-point-plan to help maximize your practice time.

It was originally written for How To Read Music, See it, Say it, Play it… but it can help anybody learn to practice and get better results.

7. You can become a musician…

when you know if music school is for you or not.
There are pros and cons. School is invaluable if you use the time wisely. You’ll be in a bubble for 2-4 years where you can eat, sleep & breathe music. For some people – it’s a perfect choice. For others – not so much.
It can be very expensive, and lead you to a degree that doesn’t help you reach your goals. Do your homework and make a smart choice.

8. You can become a musician…

when you learn to listen analytically.
You shouldn’t have to buy the printed music… use those things on the side of your head. 🙂
God didn’t make ears for hats, but so you could transcribe solos, licks and tunes!

Learning to listen smart is the best tool a musician can develop.

9. You can become a musician…

when you learn to be nice.
Trust me, you’ll get more gigs with kindness and good mojo than always trying to be a badass.
People really can get along just fine without you, no matter how well you play or sing.

10. You can become a musician…

when you don’t forget this final point.

You are a HUMAN BEING – not a HUMAN DOING.
You can get points 1-9 right, but if you are not nurturing yourself emotionally and spiritually, nothing else will matter for long.
Prioritize your values and take care of yourself.

How?

Ask yourself what you would do if you only had 24 hours to live.
Your answer should help you keep the important things scheduled into each and every day.
Prioritize for life, not just for music.

Wrap it Up

Becoming a solid musician is much less glamorous than TV might promise.
Time, Work and Humility don’t usually get mentioned in the interviews.
Developing your musical voice takes time, with some more time added, and then did I mention how long this can all take?

You can become the musician you know lives inside you, but don’t expect it to happen overnight.

You Don’t have to be perfect

You will make mistakes.

If you don’t, you aren’t trying. You’re going to get frustrated and quit a few times. That’s normal.
Just walk away, take a day or two off, and start again. You will need patience and tenacity to become good.
You’ll need even more to become great.

  • Have Fun!

  • Enjoy the journey.

  • Take care of yourself.

  • Learn all you can.

  • Practice smart and regularly.

  • Play with musicians better than you are.

  • Be humble enough to learn from your mistakes.

And then, one day, you’ll hear a recording of yourself and maybe, just maybe, be able to say…
“Mmmm… That was OK!”

You became a musician, and found your vibe. Cheers!