Most musicians place artificial limits on their own growth. Without even realising they're doing it...
Are you leaving 50% of your performance on the table?
Think about listening to your favourite musician.
How often do you hear a magic moment and think: “I could have played that”?
Technically, yes, you could have played it. But the ugly truth is simple – you DIDN’T.
Because, although it’s within your ability, some hidden barrier blocked you.
If you can uncover that barrier then you can work to remove it.
Then your response to “I could have played that” becomes: "And I DID!".
I’m going to explain exactly how you can achieve this.
But first, a quick warning.
Once you’ve found and removed one barrier, you’ll hit others further down the road.
They never stop coming.
But if you’re willing to tackle them, then you’ll improve amazingly quickly.
And yet, most musicians never take this route.
Pro vs amateur mindset
The key to breaking through the barriers is your mindset.
And musicians’ mindsets are divided into two groups: pro and amateur.
The pros choose to do the difficult work. Even when it’s no fun, or when it makes them feel uncomfortable.
But they reap huge benefits as a result.
Any musician can choose to turn pro – it’s free, but it’s not easy.
“Either you’re working to get better or you’re not. And everyone that’s working to get better is on the same level, they’re just at different phases of the journey.”
As a pro, you might only have a few minutes to practice. But you resolve to do what’s important rather than what’s easy.
Then you show up consistently and do it.
But this is hard – really hard
It means doing uncomfortable things.
But the more you push through that discomfort, the easier it gets. Eventually, you even start to enjoy it.
As Albert Gray said in The Common Denominator of Success:
“The secret of success of every man who has ever been successful lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do."
This is way more important than talent, or sheer volume of work.
But why do successful people like doing unpleasant things?
They don't! Here's Albert again:
"Successful men are influenced by the desire for pleasing results. Failures are influenced by the desire for pleasing methods – things they like to do".
This is the pro mentality exactly. Pros do whatever it takes to deliver compelling performances.
They remember what a lot of other musicians forget.
Practice is just a means to an end – to give your best performance when the curtain rises.
This is a decision
Turning pro is scary. It demands sacrifice.
It's not for the 99% of people who choose to remain amateurs.
Most amateurs are perfectly happy already – and that's absolutely fine.
But some amateurs want more.
They realise they're an amateur ... but they want to change. They want to play music at a higher level. But they don't know how.
If you want to be a pro, then this article has shown you the mindset you need.
But you also need to find the barriers in your way and learn how to remove them.
And the biggest barrier for most musicians is something they don’t even realise is an issue.
We're just about to find out what it is in the next part of this series...