When you desire to improve upon a skill, regardless of what the skill is, consistency is key. Practicing your instrument for 90 minutes every day will produce much better results than trying to fit six hours of practice into two days per week. This holds true for every aspect of the music industry. Consistent, daily work will be much more efficient and keep you much more sane than trying to fit a week’s worth of work into your single day off.
I’ve got a number of tasks that I try to invest time into on a daily basis. Though everybody’s priorities and daily schedules will vary, here are a few ideas to get you thinking about what you should be doing every day.
1. Play your instrument
If you want to be a professional musician, you’ve got to get your hands on your instrument every day!
There are plenty of folks who just want to use their instrument as a creative outlet, as well as players who don’t enjoy “practicing” in an organized way. There are plenty of people in this camp who have made music their career. However, even if you aren’t into organized practicing, you should still get your hands on your instrument in some way on a daily basis. When it comes to playing, the phrase “use it or lose it” absolutely applies! Just as all muscles atrophy when they aren’t used, your hands and muscle memory will begin to deteriorate when you start neglecting your instrument for long periods of time.
If you’re in a rut, or are unsure of what to practice, there are plenty of resources on the internet that can help you to figure out where to go next (ideally, seeking out a private instructor will drastically reduce the frequency of this situation). If you aren’t into serious practicing, there are plenty of ways to have a good time just playing your instrument. You could always just sit with it and see what comes out; many great songs have started this way. Or you could just work through some of your band’s material or try to write some new stuff. As long as you’re playing something, you should be able to keep your chops in working order.
2. Critically listen to music
Listening to music regularly is essential for serious musicians! I’m talking about real, deep, critical listening, as opposed to listening in the background of something else you’ve got going on.
There are a huge number of things to be gained by listening to music. First of all, it’s enjoyable! Isn’t the reason you want to do music as a career because you love music? Listening to really incredible musicians is probably what inspired you to want to play or write in the first place. If you’re in a rut or feeling uninspired, it might be that you just need to listen to more music!
Of course, listening can inspire you in more specific ways as well. You might hear a particular lyric that gives you a burst of inspiration for your own music, or perhaps you’ll hear some beautiful chord or transition that you just have to figure out. Maybe you hear an incredible solo that you connect with and want to learn, or even just a funky sound that you want to learn how to make. Learning things from recordings is hugely helpful in the development of your ear. You can’t go wrong – listen to music every day!
3. Tackle your emails
The music industry moves fast. Oftentimes, if you leave somebody hanging, you can miss out on some serious opportunities. If you aren’t the type of person who enjoys communicating and is slow to respond to texts and emails, you’re going to have a hard time making things work in this business.
I’ve definitely been guilty of this at times but have since found a solution. Pick a time every day (I prefer mornings after waking up) to sit down and respond to any emails that need attending to. If you let them pile up, this could take forever. However, if you spend a little time every day responding to messages, you should be able to easily take care of them all within 30 to 60 minutes. This way, everybody who messages you is getting a response within 24 hours. That may not be ideal, depending on the nature of the email, but it’s preferable to just letting the message sit forever.
4. Take care of business
If you want to do music as a career, then you’ve got to treat it like one. In other words, you have to show up for work if you want to keep the job!
Whether or not you have a day job, think of music as its own job. If the only “work” you’re doing is showing up to rehearsals and gigs, you’re probably putting in less than 10 hours a week. That wouldn’t get you very far in any other field, and it’s not going to get you far in music.
Credit : Sonic Bids