Each day this week, we’ll be sharing a practice tip from Scott Malyszka, a songwriter, fiddler, and founder of New Trail Coaching, a coaching service for artistic and creative people: http://www.newtrailcoaching.com

Tip #2: You Are The Gear

I’m careful about recommending products to my students, because I feel that musicians face a ridiculous amount of consumerism pressure.  Every month someone has the answer to all your problems with new guitar picks, music stands, or some gadget to finally defeat PA feedback.  I see my peers and students constantly buying gear and filling up their basements and closets. My mantra is, “YOU are the gear,” meaning that the music comes from you, not your stuff. Music stores don’t make money when you just stay home and practice with the stuff you have, so they keep telling you that you need to buy better gear to improve your music. I don’t think that artists, actors, and writers face this kind of consumerism the way musicians do.   It’s a distraction that isn’t discussed much in  the books out there on creative work.

The classic story of “you are the gear” comes from the brilliant violinist Jaszha Heifetz.  Someone said to him after a concert, “Your violin sounds wonderful.”  He held the instrument up to his ear and replied, “I don’t hear anything.”  I had a similar encounter once after a concert.  I commented to a friend that the fiddler sounded awesome.  “Well, she must have a very expensive instrument,” was her reply, as if beautiful music were simply a matter of spending the right amount of money.  You don’t need lots of new gear to make better music.  You are the gear, so make yourself better.

Great Practice Sessions

  1. Great Practice Sessions – Tip #1: Put Down Your Instrument
  2. Great Practice Sessions – Tip #2: You Are the Gear
  3. Great Practice Sessions – Tip #3: Practice is Performance
  4. Great Practice Sessions – Tip #4: Step Away from the Woodshed
  5. Great Practice Sessions – Tip #5: Get Outside Your Head

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