david santistevan


Marks of A Professional Musician (Part 4)

Mark #3 – Does your attitude contribute?

Not only do professional musicians listen, watch, and feel the music, they have good attitudes. They have focused attitudes. Part of being professional is that you want opportunities to play and you know you’ll get them if your attitude contributes, rather than detracts from a band environment. Attitude is everything when you are playing with other musicians.

A bad attitude on stage is like gangrene in the body. It spreads. It does not just affect you but the entire team. I’ve had the privilege of playing with some incredible musicians over the years. Here are some ‘attitude’ items I’ve noticed, while playing in rehearsal settings:

  • Take notes on your sheet music! This lets the leader know you care and he won’t have to repeat himself a thousand times. It also aids in not making careless mistakes.
  • Don’t practice your scales/rudiments/licks at rehearsals in-between songs. Very frustrating to a leader. Focus your attention on what is trying to be accomplished.
  • Don’t cry when your ideas get shot down. Someone probably knows more than you do.
  • Laugh. Smile. Joke around. This contributes to a fun atmosphere.
  • Don’t ever speak out of frustration. If you are frustrated about something, zip your lips until you can say it with kindness and cool.
  • Invest all your passion, energy, and heart into the simplest licks & grooves. Don’t act like you are above simplicity. There’s no faster way out the door.
  • Compliment other musicians on stage! Believe it or not, this is hard to do if you are a musician. Why? Because we love ourselves too much. Our identities can be wrapped up in what we do. Break that by encouraging others around you.
  • Don’t act bored. Professional, enduring musicians play the same songs in the same way for more years than you’ve been alive. Get over your boredom.

September 11, 2009 - Posted by | Band, Uncategorized

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