The Little Key to Your Great Success in Music
Seamus Anthony's blog is about how the Musician (aka Mewzo) must first win "the battle" in the mind. Old Zen geezers call the problematic aspects of the mind "The Monkey". If you can tame the Monkey by getting your thinking right then happiness and success as a musician, on your own terms, are within your grasp. It's Mewzo Vs Monkey - let the battle begin!
You, consciously or not, make music with some goals in mind.
These goals may be as simple as ‘have fun” or as complex as “become an internationally recognised saxophone great of the contemporary jazz world”.
Whatever your goals, I believe there is one simple, three letter word that will change everything about the way you play music and the depth of your experience as a musician.
This simple question can be asked about the smallest actions you undertake or the biggest. It can be asked and asked and asked until you boil things down so far that you come to a point where you actually understand:
who you are as a musician
what your music is all about
what life itself is all about (No joke!)
The Question That Changes Everything
That question is simply: “Why?”
Why do you play music? Why are you in a band? Why do you want to become successful? Why do you want that support gig, manager, magazine article or new riff so badly?
Why do you want to jam instead of say, do maths? Why do you prefer to play guitar stoned? Why do you prefer to play straight? Why do you even bother with music at all? Why do you put up with your annoying band mate’s habits?
The more you ask yourself why, the further you boil everything down to its absolute core essence.
The Ultimate Reason You Do Anything Whatsoever
In my experience of this process, the underlying answer to all of our actions and choices is always more or less the same:
You do things, including play music, because above and beyond all else, you desire to feel good.
This simple but powerful truth is underscored by the following:
Innately you believe that the thing that makes you feel the best is when you receive Love, i.e. the protection, appreciation and total acceptance of the clan, i.e. all the other humans.
From dictators to pop stars to bums begging on the street, the object of the game is the same. They are all (consciously or, usually, unconsciously) crying out:
“People of the world! Make me feel good (safe, appreciated, accepted) by loving me, please!”
This is why you play music.
Being aware of this changes everything. It empowers you to shape your experience as a musician each and every day. For example, if there is hardly anyone at your gig, you can consciously override the ego’s urge to sulk or get upset. You can just decide to have a good time anyway.
Because it doesn’t matter.
Because you are a bug.
You Are A Bug
Think about how truly, unknowably huge the entire Universe is. I mean really drive it home to yourself – think about the world, the solar system, the galaxy, the Universe – and maybe there are innumerable other Universes and so on…
And now think about yourself.
Plainly, by comparison, you are a tiny, weeny bug. And soon, much sooner than you think, just like a bug, you will be squashed and gone.
Jimmi Hendrix. John Lennon. Elvis Presely. Kurt Cobain. Umm … Whitney Houston.
This is devastating to your ego, to that part of your brain that lives in fear, desperately trying to assert itself in a futile struggle against reality. But this sense of perspective is empowering for you – for the real You.
As an enlightened musician you can rise above circumstance by regularly asking yourself “Why am I doing this?” and answering “Oh yeah, that’s right – to get love, to feel good, to feel safe.”
And consciously you can override this low-level thinking and shape your experience as an awakened, empowered musician. You can still go for gold – but in a more playful, detached way, untangled from the troubled emotions of those who are still asleep to themselves.
Wake up, musical bugs, and be free…
Get yourself some at www.SeamusAnthony.com
The views expressed in this article are the views of the author and not necessarily the views of Melting Pot.
Author DetailsSeamus Anthony
Seamus Anthony makes music in the Bar Romantic genre. His sound is similar to Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen and Johnny Cash – but more Australian. Enjoy with a twist of black funny.