While teaching at a recent masterclass, I was asked to offer some advice for young musicians in attendance. Of course I could think about this for a long time and reflect upon all of the things that I wish I had done and/or learned when I was a student, but I was on the spot. These are some of the things that I offered:
- Listen to music, all kinds of music! Become familiar with all types of western art music, world music, pop music, folk music, jazz, everything.
- Practice! But do not simply count the hours – practice thoughtfully and with commitment.
- Perform anywhere and everywhere; make any space a concert stage.
- Become a well-rounded, well-educated person. A successful career in music in the twenty-first century is dependant on more than good instrumental chops.
- Play with other musicians in chamber ensembles and orchestras.
- Go to concerts.
- Explore new and contemporary music – lots of amazing music has been written in the 20th and 21st centuries! Collaborations with composers are fun and amazing learning experiences. Plus, you get to actually ask questions of a LIVING composer.
- Be an Arts Advocate. Share your love and enthusiasm for music with others.
- Develop your abilities as an artist, composer and improviser. Don’t be afraid to compose your own pieces and to explore improvising.
- Begin developing your press-kit materials early. Prepare a resume, repertoire list, professional photos, biography, and artist statement. Make a professional recording every year for promotional purposes as well as for your own archives.
- Learn music theory and music history and develop ear-training skills!
- Develop your network. Make lots of friends with other young musicians. Develop relationships with professional musicians, other teachers, composers, and concert presenters. Create and maintain your own fan club and support network.
- Get out of the practice room and experience life!!
What do you wish you had known or learned? What would you add to this list? Please share your thoughts and advice!