There’s no doubt everyone loves music. But some people are made to make the performance or creation of music an intentional priority in their lives. Here are some signs that you might be one of them.
You should consider investing in your music gift if…
1) …doing music makes you really happy
I’ve always thought that a major part of being talented to do something is to have an intense enjoyment of the process. For example, I really admire songwriters who write everyday just for the love of it, producers who program beats non-stop, and musicians who are always inviting/nagging others to jam. If that’s you, even if you’re not the best raw talent, you’ll quickly improve and surpass others simply because you keep after it.
2) …you hear someone play and think “that was awesome, I gotta learn that!”
There is no better time to invest in your gift than when you’re inspired. Acting on inspiration leads to improvement, which leads to feeling more inspired. I recommend not only that you act on inspiration, but that you actively seek inspiration.
3) …you hear someone else play and you secretly think you could do it better
This was totally me when I was growing up. I turned it into a positive because I jumped in and got involved. If you continue to sit back with a superior attitude and refuse to actually do anything, well, that’s too bad for you. Get involved!
4) …you play air (fill-in the blank) or lip sync every time you hear music
If I ever actually learned bass guitar, I would be killer at it, because I have played air bass for ages. And who hasn’t been caught singing in front of a mirror?
If you can relate, maybe it’s time to put a real instrument or microphone in your hands. There was once a time when I dreamed of being able to rock out on rhythm guitar. So I learned guitar! While the freedom of imaginary playing is good fun, it doesn’t compare to putting everything you have into actually playing an instrument.
5) …someone other than your mom encourages you
My mom is my #1 fan, and that’s as it should be. Your mom would likely encourage you in anything pursue, but when someone else affirms your musical potential, take notice. Perhaps you have something to offer by investing in your musical side. Maybe your opportunity to make the world a better place is through your voice, musical skill, and creativity.
6) …you encounter a musical challenge
Challenges are huge blessings, because they are clear-cut opportunities for improvement. Challenges, when you choose to accept them, focus your resources toward growth. They force you to find a way. Whether you meet the challenge or fall short of the mark, you get better in the process. When a challenge presents itself, it’s time to invest in accomplishing it!
7) …your musical growth has plateaued, and you don’t know how to get better
Every musician gets to this point sooner or later. The solution is for someone to show you the next level – not necessarily the highest level, just the next one for you. You may get a glimpse at a concert, from listening to a recording, or even watching a YouTube video. The best way to get a clear view of that next level, though, is usually to invest in an instructor – someone who not only performs on a high level but understands the steps needed to get there.
8) …your creative ideas/technique have outpaced your gear’s capability
Most musicians utilize their gear at a small percentage of its capability. The answer to improvement is usually not to invest more money on gear, but to invest time in using what you’ve got. (This was firmly instilled in me growing up. “Dad, can I buy this new golf putter?” “No, you just need to go practice.”)
However, once you get to a point where you have ideas you can’t achieve with your current setup, or the process is becoming too cumbersome, an investment in new gear can unlock your creative potential.
9) …you spend all the time you should be practicing searching for free solutions
Free software, free videos, and other free online content are great places to get started. But there’s an opportunity cost to consider when they take too much time to locate and use. Invest wisely in paid resources that can get you where you want to be in much less time.
10) …you could use a little extra mental sharpness
Playing a musical instrument is absolutely one of the greatest things in life. As if we needed a bonus, there’s loads of evidence to suggest that music increases your brain power. Here is a fun and well-presented look at some of music’s effects on your gray matter.
Where to invest
You basically have three things that you can invest:
1. Your money
2. Your time
3. Your effort (physical or mental)
For musical growth, you can invest your money in instruction, training courses, concert tickets, sheet music, new albums to listen to, software, proper gear (not necessarily expensive), and rehearsal space. Invest time in individual practice, rehearsing with your band, songwriting, recording, etc. And invest effort in learning new methods, new music, and new styles.
What you get out of your musical gifts depends on what you invest. Commit to a long-term investment and you’ll reap many wonderful returns.