Five Things Music Taught Me about Life

After a decade or so of playing and studying music, I realized it has infected my whole perspective. Here are five places music has made me the person I am today. 

1. Timing. Literally everything will come in time. The best ideas can come a little too soon - moments end. Things want to fall in place in time. Let it happen. Don't resist the beat. 

2. -Ists vs. musicians. The other day, my co-worker Kalen and I came to a conclusion: there are only two kinds of people who play music. On the one hand, you have the "-ists": guitarISTs, violinISTs, pianISTS, vocalISTs, etc. They might know almost everything there is to know about their instrument, but secretly, they believe that their instrument is the best and most important. They compete with other people who play the same instrument and it doesn't always feel friendly. On the other hand, you have the musicians. A musician knows that they are playing a piece of the piece of music, capturing a slice of what the music must do and only a drop in the bucket of what music can do. A musician might only play one instrument, but they have learned to speak the dialect of everyone else's instrument. They want to play with people. They happily admit differences in skill and are willing to learn from almost anyone. Live life as a musician. 

3. The best creator may not be the best performer. Musicians know that a song's composer is not always the very best musician for the song. Sometimes, your brilliant idea needs to go in someone else's hands (under your oversight, of course) to get the best product. I don't play bass on my own songs. Sure, I can play the bass, but I know a better bassist, so I make sure to recruit people for my team. It's about creating the best product, not the best ego trip. 

4. Someone, somewhere has had an almost identical idea. If you didn't know this, there are only five notes in the most common guitar scale for improvised soloing. Everyone uses it. Honestly, it's hard to be brilliantly original on such a scale. It's not about being a genius of uniqueness - it's about self-expression through a medium in a way that benefits the total sound. Life can be like that. There's nothing wrong with realizing you thought of something that resembles someone else's idea. Just make it your own. 

5. Skills = sexy. Frankly, if you learn how to do something skillful (ANYTHING skillful) that welcomes other people into your space, your attractiveness goes up. Why? Because you are attracting people with something that took work and dedication. Learn the thing. Do the thing. It's sexy.