9 steps to become a better musican

With these simple suggestions I want to share an attitude that can make you progress faster. Please note that this method works well also for non musicians. Even business leaders and pizza dudes/dudettes will improve!

  1. Play together with musicians that are more experienced and better than yourself.
  2. Accept difficult tasks and fulfill them! Concerts, recordings, compositions…
  3. Never believe that you have no inspiration! Inspiration is always there inside you. Just shut up and go find it!
  4. Alternate between playing different instruments.
  5. When you play with others, do not play what they play. Find the “holes” where you can fit something else in.
  6. Apply “questions and answers” attitude to your playing and composing. For example, when playing funky, do not play every note but still THINK them all. Just leave some out sonically, on your physical instrument, while you keep the groove within going.
  7. When playing, do not focus your listening on your own instrument but on everything around it. Ice hockey coaches call this “split vision”.
  8. When playing, do not concentrate only on the present moment. Try listening to the music that  happens ten seconds into the future!
  9. Do not play your instrument – play your music!

These nine tricks have worked well for me and that’s why I’m sharing them here. What are your expriences?

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6 thoughts on “9 steps to become a better musican”

  1. another comment about item 1:
    I also find it fascinating to play with musicians much less experienced than me, or even better non-musicians. These people break rules they didn’t even know existed, tend to be non-judgemental, and open up possibilities that more refined musicians sometimes exclude. Just a thought. This is how improvisational music is different than tennis.

  2. How to play with other musicians? I mean yeah they are not people you could just walk up and relate to but how can they help?

  3. All great suggestions.
    I find myself that it’s very difficult to find opportunities to play with musicians that are more experienced.
    Probably because the more experienced ones seek to play with yet more experienced. :)

  4. Regarding item 1:
    I’d add “play with musicians who are less experienced than yourself”. Having people who look up to you and look for inspiration and advice from you around you will actually make you think about and challenge what you are playing.

  5. 10. Learn the rules so well that they become part of your system, then forget them: empty your brain from all licks and figures and play from your heart, not your mind.

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