12 Rules for Success as a Modern Musician

advice Dec 31, 2020

No matter what life throws at you, there are principles you can live by to ensure you're doing all you can on the path to success. These 12 Rules have served me over the years and I'm curious to know which rules resonate most with you and what rules you would add to them.

  1. Sharpen the axe daily 

    One of my favorite quotes of all time is “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” by Aristotle. If you agree with this quote, in order to be excellent musicians we must have a daily habit of practicing our craft. If you want to be able to hear harmony better, is it something you work on daily? Any area of music in which you feel you are not yet excellent, ask yourself if that is something you have made into a daily habit.

  2. Leverage your musical strengths...

    In a world of over 7.5 Billion people, it's important to distinguish ourselves based on our strengths. What is the one thing you do better than anyone else in your musical peer...
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Words of Wisdom from Wynton Marsalis during the Coronavirus / COVID-19 Pandemic

Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center held an hour-long livestream last night answering questions directly from people tuning in. At the start of the stream, Wynton spoke about what musicians can do during this period of social distancing and quarantine and then the JALC video producer Adam Meeks moderated the questions that came in.

I’ve grouped Wynton’s thoughts and responses based on topic and hopefully they will provide you with food for thought and encourage you to join the next livestream from JALC or watch previous talks from Wynton Marsalis.

If you enjoy this, share it with another musician. Let's pass on the wisdom passed down to us from the elder statesmen of this jazz community.

10 pieces of advice for when you’re stuck inside:

  1. “Embrace the space”
  2. “Set long-term internal goals.”
  3. “Keep perspective.”
  4. “Organize your short-term goals and plan each day with a doable schedule."
  5. “Diversify your...
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