• Ten Musician Truths That Will Set You FREE

    in Motivational Minutes,Self-Improvement

    musician truths

    Being a musician is one of the most rewarding skills you can obtain. Like a chef, builder, potter, painter, writer, and hair stylist, you’re a “creator” and there are fewer things in life that feel better than self-expression.

    Unfortunately, there are some beliefs, attitudes, and habits that can hold you back from being the best “creator” you can be.

    In this article, we’ll explore some harsh musician truths that will set you free.

    10 Musician Truths

    Musician Truth #1 – Your mind must get THERE before your fingers will “DO.”

    Wake up! Your fingers are guided by what you know. Your fingers cannot go beyond your mental ability. Music is more of a mental thing than a physical thing. Back in the day, folks would tell me after a concert, “I need to cut your fingers and add them to mine”. Funny indeed, but can one really become great with this mindset?

    There are two things that can help your mind: Knowledge and Imagination.

    Feed your mind, listen to good music and learn from seasoned instructors. These are things that will expand your mind and consequently help your fingers to “DO” MORE more.

    Musician Truth #2 – It is NOT what you are playing that makes you who you are. It is who you are that makes what you’re playing.

    Stop struggling for the spotlight while on stage!

    It’s better for you to build your personality, have a refined character and an identity that will stand you out from the crowd. This identity will keep ALL eyes on you while on stage.

    For example, President Obama may not be a good pianist. However, sharing the stage with him will explain this nugget better – all eyes will be on him and if he plays anything, I mean “anything,” it will make news because of “who” he is, not “what” he plays.

    Musician Truth #3 – Don’t play MORE than necessary in a group/band/ensemble setting.

    Inferiority complex is the main reason why most musicians play more than necessary.

    Dare to be different! Be lyrical and tasteful while playing with others and always be a few decibels lower than you ought to be. Let your audience seek you out.

    Musician Truth #4 – There’s a BIG difference between playing your instrument and playing MUSIC.

    Playing “music” on stage or in the studio is BETTER than playing your instrument (piano, bass, drums, etc). Be mindful enough to remember that majority of your audience are NOT active musicians. Even if they are, that’s not a good reason to wear their ears out with scales and runs that sound like warm-up exercises.

    Musician Truth #5 – Imitation is good, Invention is better, Innovation is BEST.

    Learning starts by imitation. If you don’t imitate others, nobody will IMITATE you. So many players want to invent their own way of playing without imitating others. Imitation will give way to invention.

    While imitating someone else, you will end up inventing yourself. Ten years ago, I started teaching music by imitation. I was imitating Jermaine Griggs until i came to a point where I invented myself. Right now, I’m trying to innovate.

    Musician Truth #6 – Oftentimes, less is MORE.

    A great pianist is content with one note and knows how to make his audience appreciate and experience its beauty, color, temperature, TASTE and shade.

    Musician Truth #7 – IMPLICATION comes before Application.

    If you don’t know the implications, I doubt you’ll know its APPLICATIONS.

    I grew up in a generation full of musicians wanting to know the application of a chord or scale before knowing the implications.

    Well, this approach of learning leads to abuse. When the purpose of a thing (chord, scale, lick, riff etc) is not known, abuse is inevitable.

    Musician Truth #8 – There’s no such thing as a WRONG NOTE. There are only poor choices.

    That’s right! And if you find yourself making a poor choice of note, simply go up or down a semitone (half-step) and you’re SURE to find to a RIGHT NOTE.

    Musician Truth #9 – Humility is key.

    Do you wanna know why accomplished musicians are humble? Well, this is it:

    They used to be arrogant musicians until the PROCESS that brought them to the top – through hard-work, humility and patience – purged them of their pride.

    Musician Truth #10 – Strive to be in between predictability and unpredictability.

    When you’re TOO predictable, you sound boring. When you are too unpredictable you sound abstract.

    Perfect music will have the right proportion of predictability and unpredictability. However, there’s really NO such thing as perfect music. This is because MUSIC is perfect.

    I hope you’ve enjoyed these truths.

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    Onyemachi "Onye" Chuku is a Nigerian musicologist, pianist, and author. Inspired by his role model (Jermaine Griggs) who has become his mentor, what he started off as teaching musicians in his Aba-Nigeria neighborhood in April 2005 eventually morphed into an international career that has helped hundreds of thousands of musicians all around the world. Onye lives in Dubai and is currently the Head of Education at HearandPlay Music Group and the music consultant of the Gospel Music Training Center, all in California, USA.

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