March 23, 2010
By Anonymous

The term musician describes me in many senses: as a cover artist, a composer, a professional performer, and simply having the knowledge of how to play more than one instrument. Although I have been playing various instruments for many years, from piano to guitar, I have only recently been exposed to the professional aspect of being an instrumentalist. I’ve gained a lot of insight from such experiences, from both exploring my own creativity and my recent exposure to professional aspects like playing on stage in downtown Vegas.

One of the best ways to gain experience as a musician is through song writing. It requires knowledge of musical theory, the fundamentals of one’s instrument, and one often overlooked piece: the drive to compose. Being educated on the subject is one thing, but without a source of inspiration it loses meaning. Without a will to write in the first place the music created lacks a sense of uniqueness, and it shows when one listens to it. All that is left to hear is a series of meaningless chord changes and/or an exact replica of a rhythm written by someone else.

While there is much to be learned on your own, some of the best lessons come from playing with others. Perhaps the most valuable bit of wisdom came from a fellow guitar player shortly after my second performance with a professional band in downtown Vegas. We had undergone some conflict with the “higher ups” at the venue in which we were performing, leading me to question whether or not playing there was worth the effort. When I expressed this to the lead guitarist he told me something I will never forget, “You don’t pay me to play, because I’ll do what I enjoy for free. You pay me to deal with the people involved.” In reference to me his message was that playing for a crowd was worth the experience as well as fun, the only reason we’re paid is to simply put up with those involved in setting that performance up. This changed my outlook on being a musician, as well as showing me the worth of doing more than simply composing or learning things on my own.

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