Since life gets super busy as you get older, it is imperative that you find ways to settle down, relax and remember what brings you joy. If I were to look at my life, I can find many things; hanging out with my kid, walking my dog, reading a book, cooking, sitting on my porch drinking the perfect cappuccino, and playing music (without judgment, just for fun). Yes… Just for fun and if you can do this with cool people, it will be even better. There is a soulful and physical connection that music brings to people that really doesn’t exist anywhere else. In that connection we can find peace, and relaxation. With the right people, this is can be an absolute solution to some mind boggling stressful times. My grandmother used to tell me, “You lie down with the dogs, you get fleas.” In other words, my Sicilian grandmother was telling me that the people who surround you will make or break you and she was whole heartedly correct. Just as the people you surround yourself with can lift you, you also can be one of those people for others. So start creating or find a group to play music with. If you need more convincing that this is a great idea, here goes the rest of my blog...“The Importance of Playing Music With Friends!”
~ You will enhance your music making, sight reading and technical skills. If you are playing your own part with other musicians, you better know it or have your sight reading skills in tip top shape. Practicing a run through without stopping is a great way to keep your eyes looking forward, not back. Like life, there are no chances to redo anything. Take this opportunity to practice moving forward without thinking about what happened 3 seconds ago. You will be amazed at what happens!
~ You will be a part of a team and (as stated in No. 1) everyone is counting on you to know your part. For musical accountability, there is nothing else like it. When you are part of a team and have your own music to present, you need to know your part and everyone else’s; understand the chord structure, dynamics, phrasing and where you fit in to all of that.
~ With your friends (and as a friend) you will gain patience, find support and grow in empathy. If you are with a group of people where that is not allowed to happen, they are probably not your friends.
~ Stress relief - Just have some fun and remember why you started playing your instrument in the first place. When you are truly making music, the relief will flow into you. Check out my Podcast, Musicians Auditions where I speak with the awesome Noa Kageyama about maintaining calm during stressful times in school or even just in life:
~ You will receive valuable feedback with the right people around you. We all need valuable feedback to grow so this is a great opportunity.
~ While you’re at it, create a small performance for an assisted living center or hospital. Music is meant to be shared so do it and you will create an even more rewarding moment for yourself and others. Spread the music - Spread the joy 🙂
So, surprise yourself by sight reading something that you find to be a great challenge (no stopping, no fixing, just run the course). Grab some great food and invite your friends over and have a great time! And, if you are looking for some great public domain music, try IMSLP. I have the link here
Also, check out my Podcast, Musicians Auditions where I speak with the awesome Noa Kageyama (Performance Psychology Coach at the Juilliard School of Music, podcaster and owner of the Bulletproof Musician) about maintaining calm during stressful times in school or even just in life:
Again... the link. I will put it for you twice, because I do feel that it is important for students and professional musicians alike.