As soon as the wrapping paper is picked up off the living room floor and thrown in the recycle bin the next party is just around the corner: New Year’s Eve! The turn of the year is knocking at the door, reason enough to greet 2018 warmly.
But it’s also the perfect opportunity for reflection on one’s life. Take one look back and at least one forward. Ever thought about how you want to change, improve or what you want to discover in the future?
1. Expand your musical horizons
You realized that you’ve reached a plateau when it comes to progressing on your current instrument and you start to wonder if your creativity could be reawakened with a completely different instrument in your hands. We are, after all, our own worst enemy so let’s take the New Year as an opportunity to expand our horizons, musically, and pick up a completely different instrument. Magic often happens outside of our comfort zone. Do you already have an instrument in mind??? Go for it!
2. Make the secrets to success of others your own
When I listen to my music and, immediately after, what plays on the radio or populates the charts, I always realize that they are a world apart. The more we focus on our artistic journey, sometimes almost obsessively, the farther we move away from the perception of reality and the world. Being unique and original sometimes involves a careful listening to what surrounds us, regardless of its degree of digestibility according to our tastes. Listening to a pop or Top 40 hit sometimes helps us to understand why the mass listens to that kind of material, and makes us more complete as artists (or makes us not want to take the route to fame).
3. The tools of the trade? Even on the move
Small “open heart” operations on my instrument? Learn to do it yourself. Sometimes the jack starts to dance, or the mechanics seem loose. The octaves seem a bit off. After each of these considerations, the typical message that appears in large letters in your head is “I should have done it long ago”. Well, it’s time to quit this bad habit. It’s better to take precaution with the right tools so that you never again have to put off the task till “tomorrow”.
4. Aim for the stars!
You have really achieved a good level with the guitar, there is doubt about this. All that nice phrasing, arpeggios, solos: you’re really smart. And maybe that’s why some days you pick up the instrument and after a while put it down because, well… it bores you, because you feel that you are not progressing, or at least not exponentially like a few months ago. Do you have writer’s / artist’s block? Did you not set yourself ambitious goals? It doesn’t matter: the important thing is to change your attitude. Aim higher, get back on track and give yourself a chance, at the cost of studying like a kid: it’s time to reach goals never seen before. And even if you do not make it in the end, at least you won’t be able to regret not having tried.
5. Don’t let the industry get you down
Every concert is worth playing. But sometimes, in a world where pay-to-play seems to be the sole imperative in the management of music-themed venues, one is discouraged. How many doors in the face does it take to get a gig? There are only two things you can do to face this without falling prey to despair: quality and promotion. The quality must be as musical and executive as the general proposal level: presented well, with confidence and professionalism – that’s half the job. And the promotion? Nothing could be simpler these days, thanks to social networks: even the band of kids born yesterday can record an EP, distribute it on iTunes and create high-level merchandising. What excuses do you have now????
6. Self esteem? Just trust yourself
Initiative always has a significant percentage of risk, which requires a radical change in the way we approach choices about “trying” or not. Others always have expectations from us, often far too big, and the line between satisfying them or not giving them justice is extremely thin. Moreover, in a free world, each person has his own opinion – and often it is not the most favourable one. This would be enough to shatter your self-esteem into a million pieces: in 2018, you shouldn’t let this happen. It is good to listen to the advice of others, but it is not good to be like a flag, which flutters where the wind is blowing. Ask yourself if what you are doing is right and if you think so, genuinely, then you can’t go wrong. The answer you give yourself is the ONLY one that counts.??
7. Good music requires a healthy body
Finally, a bit of grandma advice: spending a lot of time creating music can sometimes mean forgetting about your body: A bit of physical activity never hurts, and eating healthy certainly helps. Try to avoid the 12 hour session where you forget to eat and stretch your legs. Take regular breaks to move and cook something healthy. You’ll feel, and perform, much better.
I personally wish you a happy, healthy, prosperous and positive New Year. I will not elaborate on the usual banal phrasing such as “a year full of music”, since there is no need for it: the important thing is to live the year to the fullest, not letting yourself be intimidated by anything or anyone.