5 Things About Music That They Don't Teach You in School
1. You have to work hard.
Every day I work hard. Possibly harder than I'd like. Not for the band though. I have the wonderful, life-encompassing role of being an educator. One thing that has taught me though is the importance of hard work - putting in the hours, sticking at something until you perfect it, learning as much as you can, and the value of persistence.
Our band is very lucky to have Diane (our promotions manager), who works tirelessly for the band. I can bet you that any of those "overnight success" stories you hear about have a team of very hard-working people behind them.
2. Less is always more.
We all usually learn an instrument in solitude. When you then come together in a band it can sometimes be like 5 people trying to all talk at once.
Learn to "listen" to the other parts of your band when you're playing music. The middle of the verse is probably not the place for your epic drum solo. It's OK for you to even stop playing your instrument entirely in parts of a song. Less is more.
3. Your harshest critic is often closer than you think.
Your harshest critic is almost always someone very close to you - that's because it IS you.
Recently I renovated part of my house. Now when I'm in the renovated rooms, I see every blemish in the paint job and every uneven piece of plaster. However, a fresh set of eyes would probably be oblivious to these imperfections.
Likewise with our music. I hear every mistimed drum hit in our recordings. I beat myself up if I make a tiny mistake when playing live. I don't understand it when other people can't see the same issues I can - but that's because it's not as bad as I think it is. You are your own harshest critic - it's OK if it's not "perfect".
4. Family is important - the music industry isn't kind to families.
This is probably the worst part of the music industry, and it definitely plays on my mind a lot. Going "full time" comes at a great cost to your family, and at the end of the day family is more important. You have to keep this in mind.
I am very keen to buck the trend - to find a way to make it work. But I'm not sure it can be done.
5. Music is fun.
People often say that something is fun until you make it your job. It seems rare for a carpenter to spend his weekends woodworking.
The moment you stop enjoying the music you're making, it might be time to pause and have a good, long think about it. Music is fun. Keep it that way.