10 Ways to Grow As A Musician
Dustin Yonts and Tomas Cera
- Dare to be silly.
Legendary music doesn't generally come from established systems. One of the best ways to allow yourself the opportunity to create truly unique music is to play your instrument somewhat recklessly. Find a riff or theme that makes your imagination inclined to delve deeper. No matter what, you must believe in your own crazy methods in order to develop your own unique sound.
- Effectively negotiate with yourself.
If you talk to yourself in a negative way, you will feel more inclined to procrastinate or surrender to failure completely. Bargain with yourself in order to consciously choose the path of success whenever possible, despite the sacrifices that may be necessary along the way.
- Embrace the Journey.
Don’t become too fixated on arriving at a destination while missing out on the beautiful process that happens along the way. In order to become good at anything, you must discover opportunities to take delight in the hard work that must be done. Develop systems that will enable you to have the most fun while pushing yourself to grow.
- Know when to follow rules and when to break them.
Learn everything that you can about music theory. Practice songs that other people have written. After you're familiar with some common techniques used by popular musicians, try making some similar sounds with a twist. Maintain just enough of the status-quo to avoid giving your listeners the impression that you're trying too hard. Go out of your way to discover unexpected sounds and patterns that could give your songs the unique flavor they need in order to attract attention.
- Practice for 30 minutes a day.
If you want to give yourself the best opportunity to be successful as an artist, you must draw the line somewhere. You must create rules for yourself that will enable you to become the best version of yourself. It doesn't really matter how you practice, so long as you actually do it regularly. Enjoy the process of growth and take delight in small victories along the way.
- Produce a demo CD with 3-5 of your songs.
Just do it. It's better to have 3 or 4 mediocre fully completed songs than to have a trove of songs that are 30-40% complete. You will learn your craft as you go, but fully finishing a song is better than continuously making new music ideas and never capitalizing on them. You and your music will grow through experience.
- Set concrete career goals and make plans to achieve them.
We sometimes tend to over or under-estimate our capabilities as a musician. We may feel like we have the best work ethic and nothing will get in our way of making millions off our music in our first year. Well... Simply put, it likely won't work that way. We have to be honest with ourselves and plan to make concrete goals for where we want to be as a musician. Find your strengths and weaknesses. Fine-tune each individual skill with simple, easy to digest goals and don't overcomplicate things. Every success and failure is a chance to learn and improve. Take it with a grain of salt.
- Adopt a business mindset.
As a musician, you are your business and your music is your product. You must craft, market, and sell your product to the absolute best of your ability. Become totally immersed in your business and find your niche. You will encounter challenges and hick-ups, but the true judge of your ability will be how you bounce back from tribulation and overcome obstacles. Never give up.
- Demand discovery.
Don't wait around for the music industry to find you, because they will likely look right past you. You have to take your product and make them mad they didnt discover you sooner. Control your destiny. Take the necessary steps to grow yourself and don't depend on your music to be found on a stroke of luck.
- Stop making excuses.
At the end of the day, all you'll be left with is a product of your effort. Making a record-selling album isn't easy, but the albums who have topped the charts in the past were written by artists who put in pure hard work and dedication. The more time you lose through excuses, the more your music loses out. It's plain and simple.