words Al Woods
Being a musician is rewarding, both for your own personal fulfillment and for the social benefits playing music can provide. Becoming a musician isn’t something that happens overnight, however. It takes skill, practice as well as talent, and a creative streak to really be one. There are some helpful tips you can implement in order to become a musician.
1. Control Your Repertoire
You may feel like you need to learn every song you ever loved in order to be a good musician, but this isn’t the case! On the other hand, really knowing the ins and outs of the songs in your repertoire is crucial. If you’re not sure how to do this, here’s an awesome video breakdown of Amazing Grace that can help you learn what parts of a song need your special attention in order to really play it beautifully. While the video in question is geared towards piano players, you can learn the fundamentals of how to approach a piece regardless of what instrument you play.
Understanding the importance of controlling your repertoire can help you become a better musician. If you’re just starting out, focusing on well-known songs is important. It will provide you with the opportunity to understand how different variations are made, what works, and what doesn’t, and it will also help you get a feel for the different styles out there.
2. Learn To Play Different Instruments
Having one instrument you excel at is important, and more than enough if you just want to play for yourself. However, if you want to be a professional musician, it’s important to be able to play different ones, at least some of the easiest instruments to learn like the piano or acoustic guitar. That will not only allow you to have a better grasp of music but will also open up a variety of possibilities for your career.
If you’re recording a song, and you need a few chords in the background to make it sound full and complete, you’ll be able to do it in a way that will bring out the best in the song. Apart from that, more bands will want to hire you if they know that you can play a bunch of instruments.
3. Take A Vocal Course
If your singing voice sounds less than stellar, take a vocal course! Learning the proper techniques will allow you to not strain your voice, which will inevitably lead to not only a healthier voice but better singing as well. Not only will it make it easier to sing in tune, but you’ll gain the confidence necessary to sing in front of people.
Some of these techniques include breathing exercises as well as ways for getting vocal placement right. There’s more to singing than just knowing the words. It takes a certain finesse to voice your musical thoughts, and if you’re not too confident about your voice because it’s a bit off-key, you’ll feel inhibited when trying to showcase your skills.
4. Learn To Play By Ear
Sharpening your skills as a musician involves improving your pitch. When learning any type of instrument, it’s extremely important to be able to play by ear since it will help you master your instrument much faster. This can be acquired over time, but it’s essential to take time out of your practice to really hone this skill.
It will also allow you to collaborate with others in a new spontaneous way. You’ll be able to pick up on the music of those around you and incorporate it into your practice as well as performances, making you a better musician overall. One way to practice this is to listen to different notes and even simple melodies and write down what you think you’ve heard. After a while, you can make the exercise more intense by choosing more complex melodies to listen to, as well as adding the key it was played in as well as the time signature.
5. Practice And Dedication
You probably already know that practicing is important for all musicians. Even the best still practice daily. Any musician will tell you that, when it comes to playing instruments, fingers seem to have their own memory. If you’ve never played before, it’s similar to typing on a keyboard. You know how, when you get a new one, you can’t seem to type as fast or error-free as you’re usually able to? That’s because your fingers kind of “know” where they need to go, but they need to get used to the new keyboard.
Practice will improve your playing skills, and it’s necessary if you want to become a good musician. Setting at least one hour a day to practice is recommended. However, that doesn’t mean that if you practice for three hours you’ll become a rockstar quicker. Learning how to play is one thing, but mastering an instrument can take years. That’s why it is paramount to practice and dedicate yourself to learning what you want or need to. Even with talent, becoming a musician requires dedication and hard work. Some will make it look easy, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have the road paved with countless hours of practice.
6. Learn To Listen Well
This is a skill that’s often overlooked, but it is just as important as playing well. Learning to listen to music properly takes time and effort, it’s not something that comes naturally. This ties in with the first thing we mentioned here – breaking down a song into its different components, studying them, and really hearing how they interact with each other is important. However, apart from that, learning how to listen to peers and other musicians is another important step.
Music is all about communication, but the only way you’ll be able to communicate with other musicians is if you can actually hear what’s coming out of their instruments. Not only will it improve your own playing, but it will also help you loosen up and feel more comfortable during practice sessions or gigs since you’ll be aware of everything that’s going on around you. In addition, it will also make communication with other professionals easier, and there’s no telling what kind of tips they’ll provide you with if they can tell you appreciate their work.
Playing music is a lifelong journey, but achieving success early on will make it easier to advance even further. Practice, dedication, and learning how to listen are the first steps towards acquiring the skills that all musicians need. If you stay open-minded about your playing abilities then you’ll be able to see your own weaknesses more clearly so you can find ways to improve them.