With many music professionals around today, many of us become sidetracked with what we cannot do. We watch and listen to people perform at a high level and become dispirited. As we watch, we simply forget that each one of us has a different story and different aesthetics. Some of us are older. Some of us are younger. However, all of us have different experiences that give us our unique identity.
Some of us grew up connected with musicians in the household. Some of us knew musicians who had connections to this educator who connected you with an A-lister for private study and opportunities. Some of us had no connections and were self-taught. Where the latter may become overwrought with jealousy, there is opportunity here to turn something good out of this experience. For the few who have had the connections at an earlier age, it’s harder to become humble and grow. It’s also easier to burn out if you have everything.
So when we become nervous, depressed and wish we could play exactly like our influences we need to step back and use what we cannot yet do to learn how to grow. Use this for inspiration in figuring out your own voice. Nobody wants to hear a copycat.
Some of us play more notes than others. Some of us respect certain genres, but would never feel right playing them. Miles Davis didn’t need to play what John Coltrane played. Count Basie could accomplish more with using two notes than what other musicians could achieve with ten. Some of us learned in church while others of us learned in clubs. Again, what matters is developing your own style and molding it to fit your life story.