5 Traits Every Musician Should Have

Ghanaians don't understand the music industry and its business - SarkodieBehind all the songs that we hear, there are some untold stories. Stories of those musicians who dedicated their lives to music. Stories of each of their career paths are identified by only them, just like their palm prints. In a competitive and saturated industry like music, one needs a lot of luck to thrive. But is luck everything? What are the traits behind the success of famous musicians?

It’s not a secret that musician brains are a little different from “normal” brains. As with any skill or profession, most of it can be learned, but certain things that you need to be a good musician come from nature, not nurture.

Do you show the symptoms of musicianship? Here are 10 established correlations.

1. You laugh a lot

News cycle got you down? We’re all stuck on planet Earth, dealing with violent extremism, climate threats, robbery, DUMSOR and atrocious fast food. And we all have two weapons to battle the blues: art and humor.

Musicians are some of the funniest people you’ll meet, especially in groups. Ride to a show with any band that’s been together for a while, and you’ll be spitting out your drink. It’s a kind of amazing, vulgar, politically incorrect banter that screenwriters rarely get right. If we could just record chunks of that, we’d have enough material for a stand-up routine… or the lyrics to our next album.

2. You’re naturally curious

That door in your apartment that’s nailed shut? You’ve got to know what’s behind it.  What happens when you put a bunch of big ball bearings on piano strings? You’re just the person to find out. Curiosity, exploration, and experimentation are bread and butter for musicians.

3. You’re not slowed down by rejection

The greatest damage rejection causes is usually self-inflicted. Just when our self-esteem is hurting most, we go and damage it even further. Like salespeople, musicians have to hear “no” on a regular basis. No matter how great your act is, it won’t be right for every gig or every venue. No matter how talented you are, you’ll lose opportunities to someone who just got there a little sooner, someone who knows someone, or someone who sounds a little bit more like that club owner’s favorite artist. Although these rejections always sting, they also don’t deter you. You believe in your own voice and will keep working until it’s heard.

4. You have systems and rules for yourself and your surroundings

If musicians have a hard time accepting external structures, we tend to be eager to impose rules and restrictions of our own making. Musicians know intuitively what the right thing is.

A musician might have a no-eating rule in his or her car, or insist that all T-shirts have to be hung up rather than folded. This sense of correct practice is what builds the conventions and habits that form an artist’s personal style. You are not the norm follower.

Sarkodie and Stonebwoy nominated for 2016 Headies Awards - Full List5. You’re reasonable in your dealings with others

Musicianship takes a lot of teamwork. Just like the recent happenings between Stonebwoy and his resident producer Beatz Dakay, you collaborate with bandmates, session players, studio staff, live sound techs, and (of course) your audience. You might be the brightest light in the room, but it’s highly unlikely that you’re the biggest diva.

If someone has unreasonable expectations or inflexible demands, it’s not you. Whether this skill is learned through your art, or whether your natural talents led you to become a performer, you’re always more likely to be peacemaker and negotiator than an instigator. So ignore any rumour that says Stonebwoy broke into Dakay’s studio just because they had a misunderstanding. He has been reasonable enough to know what’s right for both of them.

Bonus Two

6. You don’t stay down for long

Ever work in the studio all day and hate the result? Ever lose a bandmate right before a series of shows? If you tackle anything passionately, you’ll have lots of little triumphs and little disappointments along the way. My friend Bridget will tell you DON’T GIVE UP BECAUSE OF THIS LITTLE HICCUP. But if you’re moping on Monday, you’ll be back in the studio or on the stage on Tuesday. You don’t let a bad mood engulf you and color what you’re trying to do. Stay positivated (Positive and Motivated) always.

Ed Sheeran praises Ghanaian dialect, talks about FuseODG collaboration7. You like fixing and building things

Music is a hands-on field, made to order for people who hate lectures and chalkboard notes and want to just jump in and do it. Take a great musician like rapper E.L. He’s mostly cooking his own beat and that of others. That’s why so many musicians modify their instruments, customize their band vans, and build all sorts of hacks in the studio or rehearsal space. Other are also drawn to carpentry, computers, electronics, and mechanics it doesn’t change their worth. Musicians are not afraid to rip things apart and see what makes them tick.

Did I leave any trait out? Feel free to add below.

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