5 Easy-to-Avoid Mistakes That Are Keeping You From Becoming a Master Musician
Master musicians are those who possess exceptional control, knowledge, and understanding of their craft. They wow audiences with every performance and bring packed houses to tears, they write and produce songs that become the soundtracks to fans’ lives, and they survive (and sometimes make fortunes) creating music for many decades. Does this sound like the level of success they you’d like to achieve – or get close to achieving? If yes, then be aware of these five easy-to-avoid mistakes that might be holding you back from your full potential.
1. Practicing your craft inconsistently
As Malcolm Gladwell eloquently states in his book Outliers: The Story of Success, anyone wanting to be a master at a craft must put in 10,000 hours of practice. While this is a no-brainer for most people, you’d be surprised at the number of musicians who don’t adhere to a regular practice schedule each day and treat rehearsals as if their life depended on them. I never missed a practice session, even if my family was on vacation or it was Christmas Day. In fact, I practiced consistently for over a decade, sometimes training up to 18 hours a day ’til my hands bled. For sure, consistency was one of the biggest reasons why I was able to get to a higher level of playing.
2. Not taking lessons
While there are many examples of musicians who excelled at their instruments without a teacher, there are countless more examples of musicians who never reached their full potential. A skilled music teacher can prevent young musicians from forming bad habits, train them to perform well in real-world situations, and so much more. Drummer Kenwood Dennard, who played with Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Sting, helped me to identify my musical strengths and excel at them. Kenwood even served as a mentor and inspired me to push forward when I was feeling low. Even better, he took me to jam sessions and introduced me to a variety of different pro musicians in New York City. While this was costly (around $75 per hour), most teachers (from local heroes to national pros) will agree to meeting with you monthly and/or to letting you attend group master classes where several other paying students help to minimize the overall costs. In any case, private instruction is priceless.
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