Everything You Read, Makes You A Better Musician.
I love reading. Everybody who knows me, knows that about me.
I have about 700 books in my library here, and one of the books in my collection is “The Millionaire Mind”, by T. Harv Eker.
You can find the book here
Tying in to the famous Zen saying: “Through one thing, know ten thousand things”, I want to show how you can use the knowledge and insights from 1 field of study to your advantage in other fields of study.
In this particular case, I want to show you how the important lessons, points and insights on the book on how to become a millionaire, also apply to how to become a fantastic musician.
- Your income can only grow to the extent you do.
In other words: becoming a millionaire is as much about mastering mental processes, as it is about hard work, planning and goal setting.
By the same token: the level of your musicianship is dependent upon how well you manage your time, your thoughts, your belief systems, your opinions, your internal programming, your courage, you willingness to make mistakes, and upon the story you tell yourself… as much as it is dependent upon how much and how focused you practice.
- Have faith in yourself: trust yourself. Fear = False Evidence Appearing Real. Is… false EDUCATION appearing real.
I touch upon that later in the blog.
There is a lot you learn about yourself from learning music. You learn and overcome certain fears about inadequacy (“this song is too hard”, “too fast”, …), fears of rejection (band members, auditions, gigs, …), fears of being criticized (knowing that you will make mistakes in front of a teacher, or band member, …).
You somehow get used to it to the point where it becomes a non issue.
Learning guitar makes you more courageous. 🙂
- A lot of time there’s opportunity in front of us, that we miss out on because we think negative and don’t go after it. (“it’s a trick”, “it’s not valid”, “when it sounds too good to be true, it must be untrustworthy”, …)
I call this “the voice in our head” or “the story we tell ourselves”
Later in this blog I’ll elaborate further on this.
- Set realistic goal. If I made my first $10,000 online, now I only need to do that 100 times to become a millionaire .
Everything can be accomplished given the time and resources.
It’s a given, that someone who maps out what he would like to achieve, is much more likely to get there.
- Making your first $100,000 is harder than making your first $1000,000.
This same principle applies to music.
Learning your first chord is much harder than learning your next 3 chords
Learning your first solo is much harder than learning the next one.
Being able to play 16th notes at 100bpm effortlessly, takes much longer than reaching the point where you can play 16th notes at 200bpm.
The more you learn about music, the lesser and lesser time it takes to learn new pieces of information. After all: the more connections you see between scales, and intervals and chords, and notes and so on, the easier it is to learn and memorize new scales and chords. You’re merely building further on something you already know.
- 9 characteristics of very successful people:
1) Blame versus learn. (they learn, not blame. The best education is life.)
2) Decisive: take quick action
3) Trust gut, trust intuition. Trust yourself.
4) Be single focused. Don’t run too many businesses. MASTER ONE. You WILL go bankrupt.
5) Be marketing focused.
6) Education focused. Understand continuing education is important.
7) Don’t be afraid to make mistakes: you don’t have to get it right, you just have to get it going.
9) Build team: “Success is a team sport”
These same insights apply to people who are successful doing, playing or learning music.
- They take responsibility for their results or lack thereof. They realize that if they don’t get the progress, that they probably should practice more, or get better organized.
- Being decisive means that you don’t waste time trying to figure out what you’re going to practice next, that you don’t spend forever making up your mind on how to practice something, or who to study with, or when to book rehearsal. You get more done if you train your decision making muscle to react more quickly.
- Know that given enough practice and patience, you can reach any level of musicianship, you can play any solo, you can get the skills to do whatever you want to on guitar.
- This is a common “mistake” with guitar students. They are studying with me, and then on the side they are learning from this book they bought on arpeggios, and apart from that, they’re also dabbling into this booklet on music theory they could pick up for cheap, and they’re scouring the internet and wikipedia for some scale knowledge. As a result: their time, focus and musical knowledge gets incredibly fragmented. Contrary to what one would intuitively expect: those students always end up progressing more slowly.
- Large part of your success as a musician, is in getting your name out. Make sure everybody knows how good you are, how much fun you are to work with, how much other bands, music students, producers and so on would really benefit from having you on their team.
- The best musicians are the ones who learned and practiced the most. It really is that simple. They are also the musicians who have the most fun with music. The better you get at guitar, the more fun it gets. A musician never stops learning. There is always more to discover, more chords to learn, more cool scales to explore. That is the beauty of learning music.
- Mistakes is where your progress lies. People who hold back too much because they are afraid to make mistakes, also hold back their growth and progress. It is always the bold and courageous who get to live a full life with amazing life experiences. Same in the study of music: the student who focuses very hard on avoiding mistakes, is not learning half as much or half as quickly as the student who eagerly throws himself in the musical journey.
I always liked the insight: “You don’t have to get it right, you just have to get it going.”
This is very far reaching: in my long teaching career, I actually remember several people who contacted me to take lessons, but then decided that… “they wanted to become better first before taking lessons” 🙂 (Isn’t that kind a the point of taking lessons in the first place?)
- Musicians model their favorite musicians all the time. This is part of how we develop our own style and of how we learn.
One of the best ways to become a great songwriter, is by analyzing the songs of the greats, and tailor your songs to theirs.
You can use the chord progression of one of your favorite songs, and then write your own melody to it.
Guitarists who are into shredding, like to find out what kind of pick their favorite guitarist uses, or what kind of strings, or how high or low his action is.
We buy a Strat because we’re into Hendrix, or a Les Paul because we’re in love with the music of Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Page’s guitar playing.
Al this helps to form your own musical identity. It helps your progress. It helps your success in your music studies or your music goals.
- Make sure you always get the best possible music teacher, the best possible artist management, the best possible band members, the best possible everything. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and who share common goals and interests.
- Delete people who are negative. Cut everybody out of your life who is negative. They pull and drag you down.
Life is too short and passes by too quickly to let other people waste your precious time with their negativity.
It’s not harsh or selfish to avoid those people: it’s smart!
You can contribute more to society, can do more good, and mean more to more different people, if you surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you.
You owe that to yourself and everybody around you.
By the same token: study with the guitar teacher who believes in you, who makes you feel special, who makes you feel and realize that you can do ANYTHING you want to.
This might seem like a no brainer.
Yet, I swear to God, every year I get about 4-5 new students who, in their initial first talks with me, tell me that they are about to give up on music because they had taken lessons with 3-4 other teachers before, who all had “gotten frustrated” and “impatient” with that student. Those teachers had told them that they didn’t have the talent, that maybe they should pursue another instrument or another interest than music.
When the teacher can’t teach… it is never the student who’s to blame.
By the same token: there are many frustrated or bitter musicians who feel they didn’t get the break they deserved, who talk bad behind other musician’s backs. Musician’s who create a sour vibe in the rehearsal because they can’t handle somebody else in the band asking them to play something differently.
Get rid of all these people. They will slow down your band, they will mess up the great atmosphere you could have jamming together, they will piss off your fans, they will reflect upon you, the will try to make you small.
- STOP the negative mind chatter. You can do ANYTHING.
We all have this voice in our head. You know what I am talking about!
That little voice that tells you that you can’t do something, that you’re not good enough, that something is “too hard”.
The voice that limits your growth and potential with numerous negative messages, opinions or judgements.
Those negative thought patterns we all to varying degrees deal with, are the single biggest obstacle on our path to becoming a millionaire or a master guitarist.
The students who experience the best results in their music training, are the people who are good at silencing that voice.
They get much more out of their practice time, because their energy and attention isn’t bogged down by disempowering thoughts that slow down their progress.
- Capture people’s information:
Name and email address. This is how you build your list. You create your own market that way.
He who owns the market is he who has the people.
The same applies to becoming a successful musician. You can’t achieve that without a strong base of people who love what you do, who admire your work, who feel a connection to you.
My very first day in Berklee College of Music, the very first thing all entering new students were told was: “look to the left of you, look to the right of you, and say hi to that person. He/she will become your future colleague, client, business partner… your future income. Networking is everything. Start today!”.
He who has the most connections is he who plays the best paying gigs, does the best tours, has the most music students, and who has the best income.
Be on the look out for more blogs about everything guitar, music, songwriting and music education.
Meanwhile: give this blog a rating and give me your feedback in the comments section below. I believe everything can always be improved, and I gladly would implement your suggestions and ideas in this blog or the next.