You have a goal, you have a dream and you are bound and determined to get there. Aim for the stars. Manifest your dreams.
Now let’s look at how one does that as an artist...
First, there is no direct route or guaranteed route to your destination. And what is your destination? If it’s fame, good luck. You’re on a road of dissatisfaction at every level. If however, you are an artist simply because that’s who you are in your blood, in your bones, with all your heart you must create then let’s look at how to create a journey that can be enjoyed, satisfying and successful.
There are choices you can make to enjoy the process. First, create just for the sake of creating. A wrestling soul is best soothed and serves humanity by creating and sharing art.
Create realistic goals and then learn what you need to do to reach them. Learn a song a week. Practice your voice, practice the piano. Find small things you need to improve upon because all great improvements come from focusing on something specific. Stack many specifics and you’ve got a leap of improvement. Pick ONE thing to focus on – do you need to improve your rhythm? Work with a metronome. Take a dance class. Put your hand on the speaker to feel the drums and bass. What’s next? Need to learn how to play with a melody? Listen to 20 versions of a hit song covered by other artists. I recommend checking out the icons before the youtube versions, but check those out too, because someone in today’s generation is being really creative.
Take steps and be patient. Mastery takes years. Enjoy each step you take. Acknowledge your growth. Record and video tape yourself – playback helps you grow tremendously! You will see and hear things you don’t notice while you’re in the moment. And go back and watch an older tape, you’ll appreciate your growth.
Growth is also not linear. It isn’t a constant upward climb. It’s more like a staircase. You learn something new, have a break through then have to practice it over and over to get a handle on it, master it and just when you are about to give up thinking you’re not getting any better you leap and have a new break through. Break through – Plateau – Leap. Repeat.
Give yourself some deadlines. A song a week? A song a day? Two open mics or gigs a week. A weekend tour in the fall… goals help us have something to work towards.
Get feedback, get training. An outside eye that has experience and skills to share with you will expedite your education.
Find new ways to learn! Repeating the same thing over and over can ingrain bad habits. Sing, watch videos, learn something completely outside of your skill set – it gets your brain working differently. Change your location.
I used to play pick up basketball games at the UCLA gym. I had specific goals. 1.Have fun 2. Be scared and do it anyway – I was the only female playing with mostly 6 foot guys. I stood under the basket taking charges, stole the ball, was completely towered over & I’ll have you know the guy I was defending was only allowed one basket per game 3. Learn how to play on a team – when to step up and take the moment, when to pass the ball – this directly relates to playing with a band. 4. Improve my game with every game.
So, create goals. Learn specific tools and steps to move you towards those goals. Allow destiny and guidance to direct you. Don’t hold so hard to your dream that you miss opportunities that may be 6 degrees different than the idea you have of your destination. Enjoy the steps. Take it easy and be dedicated. Get guidance from experts. Listen, watch, read, take it all in. Get out of your practice room. Do something that has nothing to do with music because you’ll discover it’s exactly like music and you’ll learn something you can apply to life and music. Find out what fulfills you in life & do it, surround yourself with it, take risks and enjoy your adventures!
Wishing you all inspiration and joy.
A few outstanding books:
The Music Lesson by Victor Wooten
Effortless Mastery by Kenny Werner
The Music of Life by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Just Kids by Patti Smith