Step back and listen.

Imagine you were a painter and given a nice set of paintbrushes, some paint, and were asked to contribute to a group painting.¬†Eager to use all your new “toys” – you zoom in on an area and start using them – creating your masterpiece. You use lots of color and nearly every one of your brushes. After all – that’s why you got them, right?

But stepping back – if you chose to do so – you’d realize that your contribution didn’t take into consideration the work that all the others did. Seeing the whole picture, you’d find your use of color was excessive, and you only needed to use one of your new brushes, saving the others for another piece of work.

And so it can be with playing music. Being part of a group doesn’t mean that it’s your opportunity to play every lick, every time, all the time. It isn’t the place to practice all the cool runs and scales you’ve been learning. It also may not be the time to hog the microphone and sing louder than everyone else.

Take a step back and listen to what is needed at that moment. The music may need a lot of your help, but it also may be that you only need to play one solitary note at just the right time to make that masterpiece complete. And that is your job: to provide what is needed, not to exercise your excess musical energy. There will be more songs to play, more gigs to participate in. You will have more opportunities.

Step back. Don’t use all your paint on one small area of the painting.

 

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