Do you think about music 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year? Good for you. Awesome. If you love music, or any craft for that matter, it is awesome to know you’ll never get bored of your job.
However, what else do you like? What’s going to make you fit in with the rest of the society? Because if all you can talk about is brass method books and if Ewald is a pen-name for Tchaikovsky, you’re going to have a very limited social group. There’s nothing wrong with that, but don’t be surprised when people get tired of you talking about music.
Here are some tips on making sure you don’t get stuck talking to yourself in a mirror on the topic of the tritone in West Side Story…
1. Find a hobby that has nothing to do with music.
If you know anything about me, or have heard Derek complain about me, it’s probably because I am way too invested in sports. I have a team for every major American sport (college and professional… Go Hokies!), as well as a British, German, and Spanish soccer team. It’s the one thing that I do that isn’t music, but to be fair, following that many teams is almost impossible. I love it, though. The passion of the fans, the competitiveness of the athletes, the thought of your team winning it all… I just got goosebumps. None of my teams have ever won their respective championships, at least while I’ve been a fan, but the Caps look pretty good and Liverpool is in the League Cup Final!
2. Get your practice out of the way when other people are busy.
Want to open your social life up but people always seem to want to hang out when you need to practice? Ever think maybe you should change it up so you CAN socialize? Try practicing when nobody seems to be free. In college, usually that means getting up at the crack of dawn, because let’s face it, the epitome of college is missing your alarm, skipping a shower, and stumbling to your 8am in sweatpants and slippers, just to get that extra half hour of sleep. Practice in the morning, go to sleep early, and have more free time to get to know the people that you’ll learn to love.
Get some friends that aren’t musicians.
You know what’s convenient? Having a friend who knows how to do taxes, or start a business, or build a deck, or any other variety of things. You know what’s not convenient? Having 100 friends who all know the same stuff. Just saying. This one is simple, but super important.
Read the news.
This is something I didn’t do until recently. My Twitter feed was just sports media people who all tweeted the same stuff in different ways. I literally follow every beat writer for the Washington Redskins. I don’t know why, but I do. Then recently, I followed CNN, NBC, Fox, and Al-Jazeera. It was crazy how much I could talk about with people after that. There is SO much going on in the world right now, and everything is at your fingertips instantaneously.
Take advantage of it. Keeping up with the news not only makes you feel like you’re involved, but is just another avenue for small talk with that guy you might hook you up with a gig or two down the road if you get on his good side.
Remember that article that Will wrote about not being a jerk? This goes hand in hand. If you want to be successful in this field, you have to be able to talk with people. Have something to talk about, or else you’re just like everyone else. Look. This isn’t a shot at you guys who only do music. In fact, I’m super jealous of you guys. You get gigs without having to change your lifestyle at all, but I got into sports and fell in love. Give a new hobby a shot, you might like it.