10 skills for a 21st Century musician

10 essential skills for the 21st century musician.

skillsI don’t expect another musician to agree with my list!  It is based only on my experience.  In much of the online discussions about being a musician in the digital age, there is an assumption that you are either an artist trying to sell your songs or you are a composer.
In reality, there are many musicians who are neither but are active in the music business and that’s the standpoint I’m coming from.

Play an instrument. An instrument gives you access to making music so what you play heavily influences your musical identity.  It is the medium that carries your most personal musical voice.

Record music on a computer. All those college courses that offer either music tech or music performance – bollocks.  You need both.

Read notation. Music is a language and notation is its written form.  It comes in really handy when communicating with other musicians and coping with complex ideas yourself.

Know some theory
.  Sure, we all feel music, it’s all about the sound, but if you understand how all those notes fit together you give yourself the chance to make more than just an instinctive use of them.

Compose. Even if you don’t class yourself as a composer, music is a creative business; dabble.

Arrange. So you have some musical ideas to say.  Arrangement is the ability to present them; to communicate them in a way that a listener can access.

Publish online. Life exists online, so don’t miss out.  Blogs, videos, podcasts, tweets, social networks, forums – these are the places you build your online identity and where you connect with the collaborators and customers.

Know the technology.  In order to publish more than just text online, get some skills in digital tech – video, audio, images, website construction.  Really, it’s not complicated.

Be a learner. I think there is a need to constantly update my skills and knowledge.

Evolve and adapt. If there is one surety about our world, it’s that it is ever changing – socially, culturally, economically.   If we can’t adapt to change we won’t evolve.

So, what have I missed?  What do you disagree with?

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2 responses to “10 skills for a 21st Century musician

  1. …….forget about the Howard Goodall shows, you should be commissioned to to a TV Series.

  2. I am the guy you are talking about! I don’t gig enough to make a living, nor do I compose enough to make a living… I love to do both – but I primarily teach music to children. And if I had the choice to do any one of those three alone, I would still choose teaching children. I am in total agreement here.

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