We all know the story. In high school, buddies get together and rock out, hoping they will one day be rock stars. They practice loud, they stick to what they like to listen to, and they are in it to make it as a band, as friends. This, “leave no man behind” mentality is great in some contexts, but what happens when you have the ability to evolve as a musician and you have stuck by your band on the basis that, since you started together, you must flourish together? This it not to say go out and ditch your band. But at what point are we bringing along our friends because we don’t want to make them feel bad? Younger musicians are often in it for the “band” and not themselves, because they have not learned otherwise. It is easy to feel like your stepping on toes, leaving others behind.
Becoming a professional musician means working harder than your peers, doing the boring task of cleaning up your sound – piece by piece, not just rocking out and continuing to make the same mistakes over and over. What is the point of this other than having a good time; what about perfection? The constant strive for perfection is the edge a professional musician has over their peers. We must not be hesitant to look at the people around us and go, “are they helping or hurting me?” If you can find a band that has this same mentality of treating music with this mindset, that is great.
What Makes Some Musicians Stand Out Over Others?
It isn’t always luck of the draw. It is commitment. Not just to music, but to yourself. What does practice mean to you? Through music, we can learn to have good work ethic, and develop our sense of responsibility. Youth is definitely wasted on the young. With so many years in the distance it is easy to waste valuable time. Some musicians actually figured this out and practiced while others were partying. Now in my thirties and acquiring the skills and mindset that I now carry, I would have done many things differently; instead of just rocking out with no real sense of direction for so many of my younger years. But it is never too late to decide that being a pro is something you are capable of since changing your path also widens it.