4 Lies Musicians Tell Themselves
by Rodrigo Sanchez, May 24, 2021 . 4 min read
The 4 lies musicians tell themselves are truly baffling. Each of them are indefensible and together they form a sure stairway to failure. However, all these lies have a common denominator: lack of any kind of work ethic.
To become accomplished in music, or even to have a decent level to play at the local bar, you need to put some work in. If you think it comes down to just talent, you’re very wrong. Let’s take a look at the 4 lies musicians tell themselves.
I don’t have talent
Talent is oftentimes misunderstood. People think that the greatest musicians are the most talented, and very often that is not the case. The greatest musicians are the ones that give relentless dedication to their craft and career. The “I don’t have talent” lie is particularly common among musicians that haven’t put in the time. If you practice hard and smart, you will get better. Obviously, if you don’t practice there will be no progress in your playing. Naturally, it is easier to blame it on a lack of talent than a lack of focus and dedication.
Many famous musicians like Sting and Paul McCartney were deemed as untalented or not good enough in their beginnings. Most record labels initially passed on the Beatles, and Sting was initially deemed “not the right singer for The Police”. You cannot control how much talent you have, but you can certainly control how much you polish and nourish it.
Learning music theory will hamper my creativity
Some musicians think that learning music theory will get in the way of their creativity. Nothing could be further from the truth. Learning music theory will help you understand how music works, and how you can use and connect chords as well as melody and rhythm. Music theory also reveals how everything in music is connected. Knowing music theory will let you make smarter choices for scales to play over certain chords, and will also help you learn songs faster. Once you understand that the chords C and Am are two thirds identical, then you will be able to understand music as a whole. Ever seen those books telling you to learn 5000 chords? Well, if you know music theory, you can learn 7 chords and infinite ways to transform and combine them. Take the time to learn some music theory as it will make you a better musician.
I’m destined to be famous
No, you are not destined to be famous, that is utterly ridiculous. Nobody is destined for fame, as it usually is a byproduct of hard work. Of course, we live in a society that makes undeserving people famous. The problem with the “I’m destined to be famous” lie is that it deviates you from what you should focus on: working hard. If you think you are going to be a famous songwriter no matter what, then what’s the point of even trying to write good songs? Trus me, songwriting greats like Diane Warren work endlessly on their craft. This one is a dangerous lie for for anybody with hopes of a music career.
I don’t need to practice
Practicing is vital to any profession, craft or endeavor. Without it, you will fail miserably. Of course, in music these failures are not as drastic. You didn’t practice and you played the song wrong. However, a boxer that steps into a ring out of shape and without practice, will severely regret that decision. In any case, practice is the only way to get better at a particular craft or activity, whether it be playing guitar, singing or boxing. Set up a daily practice regimen and watch how exponentially better you become.
Unfortunately, the four lies musicians tell themselves are common, especially among young people. However, understand that world class musicians and performers believe the exact opposite of the statements above. Hard work, perseverance, a deeply rooted sense of curiosity and a sense of wonder are some of the traits of the best musicians in the world. Yes, some might be a lot more talented than others, but all of them put in the hours to become really good. How many hours? The go-to number is 10,000 hours. Keep in mind that these are 10,000 hours of deliberate hard work. In other words, playing scales while you watch Games of Thrones does not count. Take this advice to heart, and avoid the pitfalls and lies some choose to believe.