As we’ve reached just over the half way mark of the year, I’ve been reflecting on all my wonderful students and how they are progressing, areas they may be struggling in and how I can help them become creative musicians that love and enjoy music.
So what makes a creative musician? Although there are many elements, here are 4 areas that I believe are an important part of that musical journey:
1. Get to know your instrument
No matter what instrument you’ve chosen to learn, whether it is the piano, voice, guitar, violin or drums, you need to become familiar with the ins and outs of how it works, what happens when you press a certain key, pedal or lever and even how it is made. This gives you an understanding of it and helps you to make a connection with it.
2. Building Technical Skills
This is a key part of getting to know your instrument as well as developing your confidence in playing the instrument well. Technical work involves dedication, discipline, and hard work, and some days you won’t feel like doing all those scales, arpeggios, warm ups, finger drills! Yet, if you keep going, they can become a familiar routine and you may even come to enjoy them!
3. Learning Pieces
Playing songs and pieces is what music making is all about. It’s sharing a story through music. This is the place where all the technical skills and the theory come together to equip you to play the piece with energy and expression that only you can express in your special way.
This is the word everyone dreads to hear! I remember hating it myself every time I heard my Mum say I needed to practice!! I’d always find some excuse, but I’m so thankful today that my Mum didn’t give in to my excuses! This is the only way we improve, become more confident in our playing and excel. And its at this stage that we begin to discover the great joy that music can bring to us and all those who hear it. It is also the way in which we become more creative as a musician, as our skills and technique grow through the routine of daily practice. Daily practice is far more effective that a long practice session once a week!
The road to becoming a creative musician is not a fast motorway, but rather one that is slowly discovered that can give a lot of enjoyment (plus a fair bit of frustration and discouragement when the going gets tough).