What is this blog and why should I read it?
Here are the most important things you can do to be a better musician:
- Take lessons
This isn’t news. But this next one gets ignored to a pretty astonishing degree:
Now, just to be clear, if you read, but don't practice, listen, and take lessons, it won’t do your playing a damn bit of good. If, however, you are doing those, and then pick good stuff to read, it will drastically improve your results in the first three areas.
So, what do you read?
Well, a lot of things. One of them is this blog, because I've already sifted through a lot of very helpful information for you.
Any reading material on music is nice, but also obvious, and kind of goes without saying. I’m more interested in stuff that will help you, that you might not have thought of:
I think you should read anything you can find on performance psychology. Biographies of people you want to emulate are wonderful. And perhaps the two topics that have consistently provided critical insights I wasn’t getting anywhere else are the Alexander Technique and NLP. Find any and every book you can on those subjects and absorb them.
One big, big problem with music education is that the mental side of music--universally acknowledged as important yet seldom discussed in any helpful way--is something we’re all more or less left to figure out for ourselves.
Take a second and think about that.
It’s perhaps the most important part of your musical life, and most people--even teachers--barely ever talk about it. If they do, it’s usually in passing. This is insane! Now compare this insanity with the fact that there’s this mysterious juice that some people are "just born with”, called “talent”, and you better hope you’re born with enough of it to make it as a musician, because if you’re not, well, then maybe you just weren’t meant to do music.
I call shenanigans.
To discover the ins and outs of the mental side of music is to decipher the structure of talent. Once you have the structure, you can make a blueprint. Add in some raw materials and get yourself some tools (preferably power tools), and you can build what others claim you have to be born with.
That’s exactly what I talk about in this blog, and it’s why you should read it.
Let's do this.