Besides Practicing: Those Other Pieces of Musicianship
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Besides Practicing: Those Other Pieces of Musicianship

The often-forgotten stuff

Besides Practicing: Those Other Pieces of Musicianship

Musicians especially music majors often pride themselves on how much time they spend practicing. You've seen the practice room selfies and heard the jokes about how they don't need a social life because they have rehearsal.

Hello, I'm guilty of this! I've written a pseudo-love poem to the pipe organ and my human friends joke that the pipe organ is my significant other.

Practicing your instrument is a big part of musicianship and if I was feeling philosophical I could argue that it is the most crucial. Without spending time with your instrument/voice, are you really a musician?

So if practicing isn't everything-what are the other pieces of musicianship that should occupy a sliver of our busy life?

1. Listening to your "type" of music-whatever than means for you. It's important to take time to know what's new on the block as well as savor the old classics. You are part of larger ecosystems as a musician so don't just sit like a barnacle on a rock.

2. Sorry, friends. You need to know the basics of music theory. Even if you can't read music or have a great ear. Take some time to gradually learn it, you don't need to know all the super obscure Italian tempo markings, but knowing what Da Capo is, will take you places. (Enjoy the music theory joke!)

3. Listen to other music too! If I can find a place in my heart and learn something from alternative rock AND Baroque music, you can too!

4. (For non-ensemble folks) Find, talk, collaborate with other musicians. A jam session, a chat on music history, the comments on an Instagram photo-take some time to connect.

5. Work on aural ear training skills, technical exercises and scales. They are not always pleasant to play or hear, but you will grow so much as a musician.

6. Learn how your instrument works (and if it's okay to self-tune/make repairs). At the very least, you can impress a non-musician with your knowledge at a dinner party.

7. Perform! For anyone and anywhere! Don't wait for perfection or the perfect opportunity.

Some of these things may seem like "extras", but I promise this stuff will only enhance your experiences as a musician. These things are great "5 minutes a day" goals. The listening to your own and other genres can even be done while doing something else like driving, cooking or studying.

Then you can go back to that practice room and create some amazing sound waves!

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