Music plays an important role in shaping the society. It has inspired generations after generations to aim for a better future by expressing their passion through songs. Bob Dylan in his time was the voice of the youth for example and music has been instrumental in moving revolutions.
It’s like a diary that you can look back to and remember exactly how you felt at that particular time. Memorable moments like your fist kiss, break ups, losing a loved one, triumph and many more is always accompanied by music. Its power to move mountains seduce us to embrace it and be a part of its army. People like Mozart, Jimi Hendrix, Clapton, Beatles, Led Zeppelin has been immortalised because of their music. Many have failed however but the number of aspiring musicians grows each year.
Technology made it extremely easy for everyone to learn how to play an instrument. With a click of a mouse you’ll be playing along with your favourite song. I have noticed though that we need to find a balance between old school and new technology to maximise our music appreciation. It is very tempting to rely more on technology as it is convenient but our creativity suffers. For anyone to succeed in the music industry they need to be unique or someone that has something new to offer. When George Harrison was interviewed in the late 80’s about the success of The Beatles, he said “because we were different”.
What makes a good musician? Is it the ability to play 16th note runs at 240 bpm, the ability to play exactly like the original recording on the cd or having a vast collection of chord inversions at your disposal? In my own experience I have learnt that a good musician is not built upon a certain set of requirements or a certain criteria but having a unique ability to create music in a way that expresses oneself.
It’s true that if you put a lot of effort and hours of practice you can sound like your idol, but there’s only ever going to be one Jimmy Hendrix or John Mayer or Santana, etc. So how do I find my own sound? This ultimately should be the goal of every musician. It’s ok to learn from the masters but don’t be a puppet. Every single one of us is unique. We have different experiences, different backgrounds, different tastes and different personalities so why not use it. Music should come from the heart. My philosophy is if it feels good then it must be right.
I have been asked the question “do I need to study music to become a good musician?” Certainty not but the more tools you have the better. Let say for example you have a song and you want your band to play it. If you don’t know what the names of the chords are then it’ll be pretty difficult for the other band members to understand what you want. So some theory is useful especially when you write your own songs.
Never compare yourself with other musicians. This will limit your ability to appreciate music. The last thing you want is to miss out on the performance because you are so busy nit-picking the mistakes. Just enjoy the moment and give them some respect. You’d appreciate it when you’re the one on stage.
To become a good musician is something that you develop over time. It’s not however, measured by the years you’ve been playing the instrument but more on how the instrument is used to express your emotions. Being a musician is not easy but very rewarding. Remember it’s not the destination that matters – but the journey.