What separates an average musician from a phenomenal one? Was the latter just born with more natural talent? Maybe. But the answer, which 99% of the time is correct, is… wait for it… PRACTICE.
I know it might seem like an oversimplification, and that there are countless other factors which all together contribute to create an above average musician. But really it comes down to that, and it’s not like practicing to this scale is the easy option! In fact, to take a musician who has put in hundreds, maybe even thousands of hours practice and explain their talent by simply saying they were just born with it, is pretty insulting. Sure, they might have had a bit more of a spark for music, but the curiosity and passion which they undoubtedly have within them, is the real talent. It’s this talent that has paved the way for countless geniuses, musical and otherwise.
People are always looking for the shortcut, you might be in luck if it’s a quicker route back home from the pub, but with something as vast and bottomless as music, there are no shortcuts. Personally I think that’s how it should be; it means that no one ends up with 10,000 hours practice under their belt by accident. You can’t get to that point (which isn’t the finish line, there is no finish line!) with a half assed ‘practice later’ attitude. But what’s great about this is that what you get out of it is determined by what you put in. So if you just want a bit of fun, but aren’t planning a future career, you can put in a little bit of time here and there, and then not get disgruntled if you’re not selling out Wembley Stadium a year down the line. But if you were doing it for just a bit of fun then it doesn’t matter anyway! However, if you live and breathe it, then you’re fully ready to dedicate hours and hours of painstakingly repetitive practice to follow the passion within you. In fact, let me put this differently, I know I’ve been saying that practice is the most important factor, which is true, however without passion and determination you most likely won’t get very far. The people who you see excelling in whatever field, in most if not all cases, live for that particular field. It’s the first thing they think about when they wake up, and the last thing before they go to sleep; it’s their obsession, and their whole world.
In some ways, if you have this much drive for your passion, how can you not fail? And regardless of how idealistic and over optimistic that might be, why would you not aim for that?
Okay so we went slightly off topic, however this idea is not synonymous to music, it can be applied to anything. I don’t want to scare anyone away with the overwhelming prospect, but I think it’s empowering. To know that your future is totally in your hands, if you’re willing to put in the time, and follow your dreams.