THE CHAMELEON MUSICIAN
We all have favorite artists and styles of music we enjoy listening to. With the fast proliferation of technology, we have access to any style of music and any songs we want to listen to within the finger tips of our hands. Moreover, we may have a selected style of music for different things we do. We may listen to fast techno music that gives an adrenaline rush when we exercise, or may listen to classical Mozart music while we are studying as it soothes and edifies the mind. Regardless of what we do, there is music that fits every circumstance to life.
Fighting The Subjective Verses
As musicians, we enjoy playing to or along with our favorite styles of music. Whether we play along with a song of our favorite style or play in a band, we are prone to only play what we love. However, to be a versatile musician, we must put our subjective feelings aside and take an objective approach. This means to discipline ourselves learning every style of music there is, regardless if you like it or not. This is the means of breaking through a plateau you have hit or developing boredom playing the same things you know over and over.
Practicing Should Be Fun, BUT…
While we should always find excitement playing our instrument, practicing can also be rigorous, challenging, and discouraging at times. What do I mean by this? We all have weaknesses in our playing. Whether it's a left hand inhibition to play a roll or coordination struggle, every musician has weak points. Therefore, half of our time should be spent on developing weaknesses. You may need to spend lots of time developing your weakness. Although this is not always fun, it is necessary. Developing weaknesses will open new opportunities for you on your instrument. For example, if your weakness was coordination and you have improved at it, you can play jazz more effectively, which requires a lot of coordination. Or, if your weakness was technique, you can now play faster and with more fluidity. At first, practicing on your weakness will be hard and the propensity is to give up. However, this discouragement will immediately turn into fuel, energy, and motivation as you see yourself doing things you once thought you can never do.
Listen, LISTEN, LISTEN!
So what is the first step to becoming a diversified musician? Listen. It's as simple as that. Before trying different styles on your instrument, you must first listen to different styles. And I don't mean only listening to your instrument being played, but listen to all the instruments played so there's an understanding of the phrasing, feel, and pulse to that music. If you are a salesperson, the first step to selling is listening to your potential customer. Before you go into your sales presentation, you need to first understand what the client needs are. If you do not get to know them by first listening and asking questions, you can be selling something they have absolutely no need for and therefore, lose the sale. Listening must always precede doing. When you do this, you will develop an understanding of that style of music as a whole.
What Must I Do Now?
So we have discussed the importance of exposing ourselves to all styles, regardless of music preference. We stated the importance of developing weaknesses and listening to all styles. So what is next? How can we transform from a labeled "Rock N' Roll Musician" to a "Chameleon Musician"? Invest in instructional books and DVDs. Buy songs of these styles and listen to them attentively. Attend live shows and performances featuring different styles of music. These components are the channel to propel you in becoming a profound, versatile musician. Finally, execute all this by practicing diligently at your instrument. You will truly surprise yourself and impress others with your ability to play all styles of music. Further, you will become a marketable in-demand musician in the music industry.