• Dear Musician, Are You Unequally Yoked?

    in Motivational Minutes,Self-Improvement

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    Believe it or not, your relationship with other musicians can either make or mar you.

    I’m a believer that it’s not possible for one to be a self-sufficient musician, because in ways more than one we all need other musicians to either be a part of our band/team or to teach and mentor us.

    Having other musicians in our lives is of the greatest possible importance because no man is an island. However, it is also important for us to be mindful of who we associate with.

    In today’s lesson, we are looking at the advantages of having the right musicians around us, and also the disadvantages of being around other musicians that I dare not call the wrong ones.

    “No Musicians Is An Island…”

    Our journey as musicians starts out as a personal walk. Depending on the part of the world you live in, you probably would have had one, two, or all of the following experiences…

    • Jumping on an instrument and learning by trial and error without any formal instruction.
    • Learning for several weeks, months, and sometimes years without making a headway.
    • Slow progress because of exposure to little or no music resource.
    • Eventually starting out by playing during morning devotion at home or at bible study in church.

    …and more.

    Beyond the starters’ point, you’ll eventually get to a point where you get to play [as a band] with other musicians who play other instruments, and you’re most likely to hear about [and also watch the videos of] other great musicians who play the same instrument you do. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll eventually meet them and maybe learn from them.

    Although in the beginning it may seem so, no musician is self-sufficient. We all are a direct or indirect product of the books we’ve read, the places we’ve been, and the people we’ve met.

    Submission: I’m aware that there are solo career musicians who play alone on stage, however, at one point or the other, they get to associate with other musicians, who either get to teach or learn from them.

    Yoking With Other Musicians

    Due to the fact that no musician is self-sufficient, there’s need for us as musicians to be yoked together.

    Attention: The word ‘yoke’ literally means to join.

    The most common form of yoking among musicians is that of a collection of musicians (aka – “band”.)

    The size of a band usually depends on the band’s function or style. A regular church band may just be a collection of three to five musicians – keyboard/piano player(s), drummer, bassist, organist, guitarist and/or saxophonist.

    There’s so much beauty when a band of musicians are playing because of the diversity in instrument and unity in purpose.

    You can hear the diversity in the instruments, the difference in intonation, function, and range.

    The intonation of the alto sax is different from that of the trumpet.

    The function of the piano is to provide the accompaniment while that of the drums is to provide the rhythm.

    The range of the bass is lower in pitch than that of the guitar.

    Notwithstanding the diversity, there’s also unity in purpose because everybody wants to achieve the goal of making music.

    No matter how skillful a drummer is, he cannot keep to the rhythm, play the melody, and also provide the harmonic accompaniment. There are so many human and technical limitations to what one musician can do.

    Therefore, finding oneself in a band situation gives one an opportunity and a sense of belonging because you’ll make music by just playing your role.

    The Advantages Of Being Yoked Together As Musicians

    Being yoked together can give a musician an identity. So many musicians have gotten to the spot light, built their reputation and have eventually become successful by joining successful bands.

    Believe it or not, if we go back to the 60s, playing in Miles Davis band can expose and position you [or anyone] for success. In contemporary times, sharing the same stage with great players in the likes of Jason White, Mike Bereal, Eddie Brown, etc., has a way of putting the spotlight on a musician.

    In addition to that, joining a band affords you the opportunity to either teach or be taught.

    Unequal Yoking With Musicians

    Inasmuch as yoking with other musicians is good, it’s not every kind of musician that you should be yoked with, else, you’ll find yourself being unequally yoked and that would be to your detriment.

    “What Is An Unequal Yoking?”

    From an agricultural standpoint, one of the reasons why two or more animals are yoked together is to achieve more. However, yoking two unequal animals that differ in size, height, and strength reverses the effort. Instead of achieving more, one would achieve less.

    The same thing is obtainable in a band where musicians are unequally yoked. Instead of achieving more, there will always be a greater proportion of inter-personal conflict, disagreements, strife, bitterness and more.

    • Have you ever played with a collection of musicians who aren’t thinking at your frequency?

    • Have you ever played in a band where your personal belief system is in conflict with that of some or all of the members of the band?

    • Have you ever played in a band that has preference for a style and repertoire that you don’t have a flare for?

    • Have you ever been in a band where you can neither make inputs nor suggestions because of disparity in age, status, race, class, and creed counts?

    If you’ve found yourself in any of the situations listed above, or even a similar situation, believe it or not, you’re unequally yoked!.

    Final Words

    You’ve not only realized the importance of being yoked with other musicians, you’ve also learned the advantages and disadvantages of yoking.

    In another post, I’ll be telling you what to do when you’re unequally yoked with other musicians.

    Until then!

    The following two tabs change content below.
    Hello, I'm Chuku Onyemachi (aka - "Dr. Pokey") - a musicologist, pianist, author, clinician and Nigerian. Inspired by my role model Jermaine Griggs, I started teaching musicians in my neighborhood in April 2005. Today, I'm privileged to work as the head of education, music consultant, and chief content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with hundreds of thousands of musicians across the world.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.



    { 2 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 zino

    nice words


    2 Mr swAT

    wonderful piece


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