Don’t be a Dead-Weight Musician

This post is part of our Concert Band Season series. Visit the Series’ page for more information.

An obvious, but often overlooked fact, is that band members are artists first. With the exception of a few marching band auxiliary members (who are still certainly artists in their own right), band is a creative musical endeavor. Bands exist to create artistic expressions of music and to entertain–whether the entertainment is rocking out on the marching field or giving an incredible performance in a concert hall.

Like a chain, a band is only as good as its weakest link.

Unfortunately, with many conflicting priorities, we tend to let musicianship slip in favor of more urgent matters. (Notice that I said urgent. Just because something is urgent doesn’t mean its important.) For most college students, finding the time in the fall to practice anything more often than a couple of times all season is a challenge.  We face hundreds of competing priorities everyday from spending some time with our sweetie to studying for assignments. Time and time again, the more urgent matters push practicing out. When it’s time to head indoors for concert band season, we find that we’ve barely grown in our musicianship or even gotten worse. We struggle to keep up to our peers and just feel pretty crummy altogether. Note: If you’ve never had this happen to you, please share your advice in the comments section below!

It doesn’t have to be this way! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could end the semester feeling proud of the growth you’ve made? You can definitely improve if you’re determined to do so. Make a promise this spring to improve your musicianship! Set a goal for yourself–maybe something like 20 minutes 3 times a week–and stick to it. Find a practice buddy and go find a couple of practice rooms together. Consider doing something fun afterwards as a reward. Only you know what will motivate you best, but you can use that method to grow as an artist.

When we actively put our focus back on the music, we’re fulfilling our obligation to our band. We become less of a burden on our peers and more of a leader. When we join a band, we are making an implicit pledge to learn to play our part as best as possible. As we begin to take responsibility for our abilities, we can push ourselves to achieve more and encourage others to reach their potential as well.

Are you staying on top of your musicianship this spring? How are you going to make sure that you’re fulfilling your primary obligation as a band member? Let us know below!

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