So I wanted to get real with you guys for this one - especially those of you who are feeling in a rut right now, or just needing an extra little TLC. With all the deadlines we have as musicians, from competitions to applications, and even our weekly lessons, it’s easy to go into machine mode...
Endless, mindless practice, day-to-day, never stopping to think what you want out of this, or what your creative calling might be. How do you keep that spark alive and stay creative as a musician?
CREATE MORE THAN YOU CONSUME
In the (almost) two years I have spent on YouTube, one of the best pieces of advice I have gotten is to create more than you consume.
As classical musicians, especially music students, it’s easy to get carried away with always consuming and never executing. Going to masterclasses, listening to concerts and recordings, practicing and taking lessons are all worthwhile activities, and an absolute necessity when you are still honing those essential skills.
But at a certain point, as students, it’s time to jump out of the nest and start to fly. (And, in my experience, too many adults choose to stay in that music student season, way past their time.)
With the nature of classical music being rooted in consumption (learning, playing and listening to pieces written many decades and centuries ago), take some risks and create something new instead of copying the classical musicians that came before you.
Make some tutorials. Teach more students (not for the money, but just because). Write a blogpost. Film a video. Create something that will help someone.
Start out simple, and trust me, the ideas will start pouring.
Which brings us to the next point...
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. For the longest time I totally was, but I started to replace those thoughts with the phrase “There is beauty in imperfection,” and life got a whole lot simpler.
Trying out new things (as we discussed in the previous point), will inevitably lead to many, many mistakes. In the words of Albert Einstein, “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”
Just remember that there are those who fail, and there are those who learn. Embrace every mistake (big and small) and appreciate it for the stepping stone that it is on your way to success. Our failures let us learn, and losing always feels so much better than not playing.
From personal experience, I can tell you that I have made so many mistakes since starting my YouTube channel, not to mention when I started teaching or even learning music. My channel started out as a lifestyle/music fusion, and I had to narrow down and delete old videos as I learned more about what my audience wanted to see. Every single video I post is a learning experience, as I study my audience’s response to it, and work to get a little better in every single upload.
Keep in mind that the more you work out that failing muscle, the easier it will become, and the faster you will start to grow. The big things you are scared to try today will become small in comparison to the risks you will take later on.
So just get started. All it takes is one little push.
GET OUT OF THE PRACTICE ROOM
This may seem counterintuitive, but in order to stay creative, sometimes we have to step away from our instrument.
Taking time off from posting, practicing, listening, taking lessons, can often be just as important as spending time on it. If you feel yourself starting to be in a rut, take a break and do something else. As a side note: excessive screen time has been proven to stifle children’s creativity. What do you think it might be doing to adults?
You see, you have to experience life before you can translate it into your music, or use your knowledge to help more people. Here I am saying this at 22, but I truly feel like an entirely different person as compared to five years ago, when I had graduated from highschool.
So spend some time in nature, take a vacation, hang out with your friends and have fun. Go to a concert or read a book. Gather those life experiences so that you can come back to your instrument and your craft with a fresh, new perspective.