This Is How You Stop Being A Junior Musician & Start Being An Experienced Musician


When I was a young violinist (and a young musician in general) I had no idea how to learn from other musicians. Most of the people I knew were either students, or amateurs like myself, and it wasn’t until I started playing in orchestras that I found myself surrounded by people who had been playing for decades.

There are hundreds of things you can learn from someone who has been on their instrument for years (or even decades) that you’ll never be able to learn from books, youtube videos, or any other substitute.

How many times have you heard someone ask a question that could have been answered if they just made friends with an experienced musician?

But the reality is that there are a lot of junior musicians out there who don’t know how to approach those more experienced than them. That’s why I’ve written this post; so that you can take the advice of an experienced musician and stop being a junior musician yourself!

Here’s what you need to do:

When I was a junior musician, I used to hate street musicians.

Why? Because they were better than me. That’s it. I’d see someone busking on the street and think “Wow, this person is awesome! Look at them go! They’re playing so well! They’re having fun, people are enjoying their music, everyone’s dancing and having a time!”

I’d get super self-conscious and think “Well, if that person can do it then why can’t I?” And then I’d feel bad about myself for being such a loser for not doing it.

Now that I am an experienced musician, I love street musicians. Why? Because they are better than me. That’s it.

But now I think “Wow, this person is awesome! Look at them go! They’re playing so well! They’re having fun, people are enjoying their music, everyone’s dancing and having a time!” And then I just go back to what I’m doing (playing music) and smile because it’s all good in the end.

Most musicians, if they want to make a living with their instrument, have to be able to play more than one. Most of the time, this is a good thing. You get to pick and choose between which ones you play depending on your mood or the occasion.

But sometimes it can also be confusing. If you’re used to playing guitar or piano, and then you switch over to saxophone, or violin, or flute, it can sometimes feel like you’re starting afresh all over again.

And that’s because… well… you kind of are. The instrument might have a lot in common with what you already play – but it also has a lot of differences too. And these differences will affect the way that you practice and the way that you perform on that instrument.

So how do you go about starting on a new instrument? Should you go through the same motions as when you started learning your other instruments? Or are there some things that are worth doing differently?

Here’s my take:

I’m a street musician who makes my living playing on the streets of Portland, Oregon. I play a variety of instruments, but my main instrument is guitar. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my gigs that have cost me money over the years, so I decided to make this blog to share what I’ve learned with other struggling musicians who are looking to improve their game.

Here are just some of the things you’ll learn in this blog:

* How to get better gigs that pay more

* How to get your first gig and start getting paid for your music

* How to network with other musicians and promoters

* What to bring, what not to bring, and what to expect at each type of gig (e.g., a house concert versus an open mic night)

If you’re ready for your career as a professional musician, let’s go!

I’m a multi-instrument street musician. I play guitar, bass, drums, violin/fiddle, piano, and ukulele. Usually I play in the subway. A few days ago someone asked me how to learn to do what I do. I gave a short answer on Twitter, but the subject is complicated enough that it deserves a longer one.

The first thing you need to do is master one instrument. You can’t play multiple instruments at once unless you have some instrument that you are so good at you could make a living with it alone. You also can’t learn new instruments quickly unless you’ve learned another one first; each new instrument after your first will take you about half as long to learn as the last one did. So if learning your first instrument took you ten years, learning your second will take five years, your third two and a half years, and so on.

I got lucky with my first instrument: I learned to play guitar while living in the countryside of Texas with almost no one around for miles and nothing else to do but practice guitar all day every day. If I hadn’t gotten lucky like that, it’s doubtful I would ever have mastered any instrument at all; most people don’t start off so lucky,

In the beginning I had no idea what I was doing.

In the beginning my goal was to play a few tunes well enough that I could make some money on the street.

I bought a little portable amp, and took my guitar and violin out on the street.

I made $40 in two hours.

That was some good cash for a high schooler.

It wasn’t great, but it was something.

I’d been wanting to be a musician for years. I had been taking guitar lessons since I was 8, and now here I was making money playing music! This was it! This is what I wanted to do with my life: play music on the street!

But then reality hit me like a bolt of lightning: I had no idea how to make more than 40 bucks in 2 hours playing music on the street!

The sheer number of people who don’t know how to effectively manage their time is pretty depressing. Let’s face it: we’re all busy, and we’ve all got a lot going on. If you’re in school and/or have a full-time job (or worse, more than one job), and are trying to squeeze in a bunch of musical practice and performance too, it can be really tough to find the time.

All of us here at TIHSYBSAMSHASAHAB are big believers in the idea of if you want something badly enough, you’ll find a way to make time for it. But…we also know that sometimes you just have to get a little help from your friends! On that note, I’m super-excited to announce our new sponsor: Rescuetime!

I’ve been using this software for about 2 or 3 years now, and I love it. It’s basically an automatic time-tracking program that sits quietly in the background while you work (or play games or whatever), and then lets you compare your productivity over different days/weeks/months so you can see exactly how much time you’re spending on what. This can really help you figure out where your time is going…and whether or


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