An essential key to success is to set good habits.
Having good habits from the start if you are a beginner or at any time during your journey will be highly beneficial.
In fact, if you don’t follow certain of them, you may not improve so much. But they are all part of a musician’s lifestyle.
So, what are these “good” habits for a musician?
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Here the 9 good habits for a musician
A good part of your work as a musician is to practice your art.
If you are playing the piano, you have to develop your piano skills. The same for any instrument, be it guitar, cello, or horn.
If you are a music producer, you also have to practice what makes the core of your activity. Such as mastering your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) or mixing.
It is much more efficient to practice daily if you can.
Or at least several times a week.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to set regular practice sessions.
How much time do you need to practice to progress on your instrument or musical skill? Well as much as you can.
But the least recommended is 20-30 min.
And it will be much more efficient to set a well-defined schedule, following the advice in this article for example.
Last thing: practice with intention as I explained in another article here. Give all your attention to all the details of what you are doing.
Why are you using these fingers here?
Why are you setting the low-pass filter at this level?
And what if you do differently?
If you do this consciously, you will never be a “robot”, you will understand what you are doing and make huge progress.
You will soon have a much higher skill level than lots of musicians.
If you do this every single time.
Don’t let yourself go to a “good enough” attitude.
Can you do better? then do it.
It is worth the effort.
You will be much more rewarded in the long term than you can even imagine.
It is the difference between a Master and a regular musician.
By the way, it is true for everything in life. From cooking, cleaning your house, or design a space aircraft.
2. Play for fun.
OK, you have spent a good part of your session highly focused.
Now you have to relax and just play, explore.
On your instrument, just have fun, try new things. On your computer, test a new plugin, a new filter, and go wild!
This is in my opinion a very powerful way to develop your creativity.
The best is to play over a song. If you want to create your own music, you may come up with new ideas. If your purpose is mainly to play songs, you will get a deeper understanding of the music you play over.
3. Sing along
Even if you don’t like that.
Sing melodies, sing the note you play, the melodies you have in mind.
I am not a singer and I don’t even really like my voice.
But I know that it is a powerful tool to feel the music.
And even to compose.
The other day, I was sitting with my guitar to compose a new song.
I was playing a few chords and I started to “sing”. Well, rather a rough whisper like a duck imitating a cow (it doesn’t make sense, does it?).
But I naturally found a melody that I then played on the guitar.
Your voice is your first instrument. Don’t forget it.
The best way to make any progress and to avoid stagnation is to learn.
Learn new techniques, new music styles, a new instrument, or producing tool.
And you will grow, as a musician and as a human being.
Learn about other arts as well, such as painting or architecture.
All arts have common grounds and you will enrich yourself and your music.
This goes hand to hand with the previous habit.
Get the habit of reading.
Read about music in general, about music genre, about music artists, music history.
Make music a full part of your life if you want to become a musician.
But don’t just read about music stuff, in particular, if you want to create music.
You might find inspiration in novels for instance. Or in biography or book on historic events.
Everything related to life, to people, can be a source of inspiration for your next song.
Of course, music is also about listening.
It is even your “duty” to listen to music.
To others’ music of course, but also to yours.
I want you to record yourself, even with your phone.
And listen back.
Yep, I know, you won’t like it.
It is not always pleasant to hear your mistakes.
But this is a great way to improve.
If you face reality, without judgment, you will learn and get better at what you do.
I record myself even during practice to hear my mistakes and adjust my practice.
I made a video on purpose while doing some improvisation on the guitar to work on an idea of new music. There are many mistakes that are indications to help me improve. I wouldn’t have noticed them so well without recording myself.
Here it is if you are curious:
Also, listen to external feedback (if it is constructive). Ask for this, from friends or family, or even from strangers, online.
You can ask me for instance. I would love to hear your music and do my best to give you helpful feedback.
7. Connect with others
Music is a way to express emotions or ideas to the world.
It is funny to see that many musicians are introverts.
I am and I would guess that you are.
But deep inside you want to communicate with others, with the world. And doing music is a beautiful way to do it.
I like to play music for myself. A lot. It is one of the most enjoyable activity for me.
But when I play live, it takes another dimension.
To share with others bring 100x more satisfaction.
And the community of musicians is usually quite friendly and willing to help each other.
United by the love of music.
Wow, it could be the new slogan of this website.
I’ll keep it!
To be more serious, there are also plenty of online communities around music, to play with others, or even to create with others.
Also, by engaging with other musicians and asking questions, you will learn a lot and get better.
Yep, I know that it might seem a bit weird.
But as a musician, if you cultivate your inner peace, you will gain more freedom to create. Instead of having your mind filled by negative thoughts.
I am not an expert in meditation, thus I would recommend that you get started with this beginner guide here.
There are also lots of apps available.
The nice thing: music helps to meditate! Or at least to calm down your agitated mind.
You can try with this music I created for example:
You can check out my other relaxation music on my YouTube channel Dreaming Dragons Music.
9. Know yourself
You will say that we stay a bit in the “spirituality” stuff here.
But it is nothing esoteric or whatever.
Knowing yourself is a very realistic, down-to-earth thing.
And it starts with observing yourself, your thoughts without judgments.
For example, do you know what kind of music you really want to play or compose?
I tend to love every kind of music. But if I am honest with me, what resonates the most with me is rock music.
It doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy classical or jazz or pop music. I do.
But my core music style is rock music.
What about you, what is your core musical style?
Listen to different kinds of music and observe how you feel deeply. What puts this large smile on your face? What makes your heart beat stronger?
With these 9 good habits, you will improve your crafts but live the life of a musician.
Music is not only a series of sounds you produce with your instrument or computer. It is a lifestyle.
My question for you: what are the habits I listed that you follow already? Which one do you want to start? Share it in the comments and let’s start the discussion!