david santistevan


Marks of a Great Musician (Part 1)

Over the next couple weeks I am going to be doing some posts on what makes a great musician. I’m not talking about prodigious talent. I’m talking about YOU. Right now. What are you doing right now to become great? Any musician, whether you have loads of talent or not, can become better. Just showing up and playing is not enough. You should be advancing, learning, becoming better every day of your life…and that doesn’t always involve holding an instrument and practicing.

Mark #1 – Are you a listener?

Great musicians listen. They NEVER claim to know it all. If you were to talk to Phil Keaggy himself, I’m sure he would tell you there are areas he needs to improve. My piano professor in college, Herb Johnson, has a doctorate in piano (you didn’t even know there was such a thing). Even at the summit of skill and education, he would practice daily.

If you want to be great, listen to lots of music and dissect it. Listen strategically. Listen to old music. Listen to new music. Whatever instrument you play, listen intently to that part. Test it out yourself. Work on it until you get it. Listen to styles you don’t naturally gravitate towards. Great musicians are versatile and can jump into numerous musical genres.

Also, listen when people try and show you something. Your way is not always the best way. Don’t be a self-worshiping egomaniac. Learn from whomever, wherever, whenever you can.

If you stop listening, you stop growing.


August 28, 2009 - Posted by | Band

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