We've all heard someone say "follow your passion," or "If you do what you love you'll never have to work." What sounds good in theory isn't always true in practice. Don't get me wrong, I can't think of anything I'd rather do for a living than play music, but it's not always rainbows and unicorns. Sometimes it seems that as hobbyists we give up money to have fun and as professionals we give up fun to make money. I think this could be said of any profession, not just music. It would be way cool if we could just do what we love, when we want to, where we want to and get paid what we want. The reality is that that it takes whole lot of work to make living doing what we love. The trick is finding ways to enjoy ourselves in spite of the hard work.
"Practice Makes Perfect"
What!? I thought this was about having fun! It is, follow me. Have you ever had that moment when you're at your job and you absolutely nail whatever it is that your doing? What a rush that is! Those are the moments that make it all worthwhile. The more you study and practice, the more proficient you become, and the more you'll have these brilliant moments. Especially for us musicians, practice is a necessary evil. We need to find tricks to make practice a little less boring.
For the most part you want structure your practice so it can be effective, otherwise you end up "noodling" or just goofing off. While this may be less boring, it probably won't produce the best results.
Vary what you practice. There may be some basics you need to hit every time, but change up the focus of your sessions regularly. Mix it up!
Learn something new. This always keeps you engaged. New things are easier for us to keep focused on. Be careful though, only take on one new challenge per session.
Add some realism. Repetitive exercises by themselves get old pretty quick. Use things like backing tracks and drum machines to spice it up. I really like using a drum machine or loop instead or a metronome when I need to work on my timing. Playing a scale over a looper or backing track makes it more interesting. Just remember to focus on the task. A little improvisation will make things more fun, just don't forget to work on your exercises as well.
"Give it Away!"
Donate your time and talent. Whether it's a big charity event, or just showing the neighborhood kids a thing or two, there's nothing like the feeling you get by helping others. Contact your local schools and offer to play a Christmas show during there lunch right before winter break. A lot of local bars put on charity events like bike runs or cookouts to help folks who are in need, offer to provide the tunes for the party. There are tons of ways to "give back." Not only does it feel good, it'll also might give you some new exposure and help build a good reputation.
"We be Jammin'!"
Play with others just for fun! Whether it's at a local jam or hanging out at the bonfire, playing with different people can be blast. I've heard a lot of people put down open mics and say things such as they're not going to play for someone else to make money, or they've already paid their dues. Aside from possibly having diva issues, these folks are missing the point. An open mic gives you a relatively safe place to play and just have fun. You can try new stuff and see how people respond. You may get to learn something new by jamming with someone who you've never played with before. When our season slows down, open mic nights give many of us a chance to hang out with other musicians that we haven't seen in a while; we've all been too busy working. Jamming with others also helps to build relationships. Success in music, like most other businesses, is largely built on relationships.
"Until We Meet Again..."
Thanks for stopping by and reading this post! I hope everyone can find something informative, thought provoking, or entertaining here at my blog. Please feel free to leave thoughts and comments in the comment section below, or you can email me at Jim@HippyJimMusic.com . Please subscribe to my website and this blog by Clicking here, entering your email below, or on the main blog page. That way you can get updates for the blog as well as follow my music. Also check out the Archive and Featured post to catch up if this is your first visit.
Until next time - Keep on Livin' the Dream