If you want to become a musician, study philosophy.
The title is deliberately provocative, but not too much; as always, behind a provocation there is something real hidden, an idea disguised with irony. Anyone who knows my path knows that, in addition to my musical studies, I studied philosophy at the university.
Apparently these two subjects may seem distant and perhaps indifferent to each other but I think this idea is just a subdivision a bit ‘simplistic and superficial. Often, teaching music, as well as with my students, I relate to parents who, as is normal, enter a world (that of music) that most of the time is unknown, far and new.
The questions I receive from them are, frequently, clarifications on the path, the objectives and the method to be used to become a good musician: “What is the best way?”, “What should my son do to improve?”, “Will he learn to play in a year? “and many others.
Obviously it is not easy to answer these questions in an unambiguous way and do not concern only purely “technical” aspects of the instrument, but the general approach to music as a lifestyle.
I’m going back to the title of this article.
In my path as a musician I realized that beyond the so-called “mastery” (which is essential) there are many other aspects that, often underestimated, are the true pivot of the life of an artist, or aspiring one.
I try to list some of them:
1. Set your goals: this ability is fundamental; those who set themselves goals are doing a very complex job. In fact, it is necessary to know how to put them in an appropriate way, proportionate to their abilities in a precise historical moment. Confronting with unreal objectives can be very frustrating. Setting goals also means planning a path and finding the ways to do it.
2. Ability to analyze: knowing how to analyze a thing is a very difficult matter. It all depends on how much we have coached our vision. Analyzing a problem, a condition, a result, is profitable if we are able to do it objectively, that is, framing this analysis in the context of our path. A progress that may seem simple compared to the skill of a great musician, can instead be a giant step for us.
3. Time management: I like to think that music is democratic: it gives you back everything you give to her. I can not expect great progress if I invest little.
4. Create alternative solutions: the road is not always unique, very often it is more than one. Sometimes, the loneliest road is the one that holds the greatest satisfaction.
In short, in my experience: philosophy and music are closer than it may seem. The first one gave me the way to follow the right emotions with criterion and awareness, the second made sure that these emotions took voice in the most fantastic and indescribable way possible: with the notes.