Many similarities exist in the habits and traits of professional musicians and professional athletes.
Draft day for athletes or securing a sports scholarship at a highly touted Division I school favors those who have chosen to maximize their time in the pursuit of achievement followed by success. Drafted athletes have committed an extraordinary amount of time refining their craft.
Have you ever spent time evaluating not only your practice methods but also those of the most successful musicians within your field? Spend time crafting your practice methods to ensure adequate challenge and progress.
Let’s consider what successful athletes do and don’t do.
Successful athletes do the following things:
- Develop a skill set based on physical capabilities.
- Strive for perfect repetitions that will enhance that developed skill set.
- Participate in individual training and group training.
- Work with knowledgeable coaches who are willing to invest hours of disciplined instruction.
- Study the schematics, structures, tactics, and nuances of their activity.
- Develop a highly self-motivated personality.
- Display a willingness to sacrifice when others choose not to.
- Maximize their natural talent or aptitude.
- Perform in intense, competitive environments.
Successful athletes don’t do the following things:
- Take time off during the semester break.
- Take time off during spring break.
- Step away from their sports during the summer months.
Musicians who aspire to achieve the highest level in their respective fields may notice that many of the aspects of successful athletes listed above mirror the work ethic of an aspiring professional musician. Succeeding in an audition for a symphony orchestra or professional wind ensemble is a major accomplishment as is securing employment as a music educator.
While you’re still in training, think about how to hone your skills like an athlete would.
Jeff shared tips on practicing in 2018. Read his article here.