Just Practice

There are no shortcuts. Walking the whole path is what defines the destination. Becoming a skilled musician happens by walking the miles it takes to get there. There are a few things that might make it easier for you,

  • Talent might make the journey more pleasant for you
  • A good teacher might save you some fruitless meanders
  • Having the resources to put as much time as possible into practice will get you there quicker

There is so much to learn and the landscape you will traverse opens up as you go. There will be some tough choices along the way as you can’t do everything. There isn’t enough time to cover all the ground.

This all came back to me watching Two Set Violin on YouTube. They have lots of fun while pointing this, and more out. The mythical Ling Ling practising 40 hours a day is the standard to aspire to. How good you become is about how hard you work not whatever ephemeral talents you might have started with.

Everyone you have ever heard who sounded amazing put in the hours. The clever and lucky ones managed some kind of efficiency to the journey. There is no substitute for the time there are no shortcuts. Walk the path and try to enjoy the journey.

Music That Shaped Me: Blue Trane

Like lots of people who have an abiding interest in music, there have been a few moments that I can single out as pivotal in drawing me in. When I was small much of what grabbed me was the exuberant fun of punk/post-punk/new wave etc. In my mid-teens I found jazz. I had hated the smooth swing and trad varieties I had heard before finding bop and the musics that desended from it.

Punk slapped me in the face and woke me up. Jazz was more of a slow impact, but it hit me. One of the really cool things about moving to New York City as a teenager was getting to go to clubs that had previously just been part of the names of live albums. New York felt like a jazz city in a way that London didn’t (it is but it’s a little more under the surface and I didn’t see it as a teenager).

Blue Train is the first jazz album I really fell in love with. I had heard a fair bit before including some great albums like Kind of Blue (that Coltrane contributes massively to also), but there was something about this album that grabbed me and it has stayed with me.