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Prioritize Your Artistry

Mar 14, 2023

Being a musician, or an artist of any discipline means prioritizing your artistry. I think that one of the most important skills we learn to support this idea is that of saying 'no', in a kindly fashion, of course!

Let's be clear, I'm not talking about being a meanie bean here. There are considerate ways to say 'no', and if you want to support your art, you will need that most precious commodity that we have, time.

Tools to prioritize your art:

Say 'no' soon. Listen to your guy. If it's telling you from the start that the project either isn't for you, or won't serve you, kindly say no sooner than later. You will save yourself, and the other artists time and energy. They can find someone who is right for the project.

Think before you click. I am guilty of this. Here's the thought, "I'll just watch this one video on (fill in the blank), it'll only take five minutes." Even if you only spend five minutes on the video, getting back into the mindset of practicing takes additional time and gets you out of your flow. Think before you click.

It can wait. I keep an actual physical notepad available at all times. I have several that I use. Instead of reaching for my phone or computer when something crosses my mind, I make a note of it in order to look it up later. This short circuits the cycle where I look up whatever it is that I'm thinking of, and then watch one video, and then think of something else that will, "only take a second!" Just make a note of it and do it later. It can almost certainly wait.

Learn the words, "Are you okay? Is anyone hurt?" if you have family around when you're practicing or working. If the answer is "no" then try, "I'm glad to hear it! I'm in the middle of practicing, can we deal with this in (fill in the blank time)?" A small distraction is better than a large one that can  is non-critical and not an emergency.

Finally, realize that all of this is a practice, not just for you, but for those around you. If in the past you've dropped everything to help regardless of whether or not it was really necessary, those whom you have helped may take some time to get used to waiting a little bit. Assure them that you'll do it, they'll just have to wait a little bit.

Ninja Level

This is a little bit hard, and I don't deploy it often, but it remains true when confronted with an avoidable emergency brought on by someone in your orbit:

Your inability to plan does not constitute my emergency.

I'm all about being a team player, but if someone on your team is not planning, and insisting that whatever wasn't planned for has now become your emergency, I would press the pause button for a minute. I'm not suggesting you actually say those words above to them (although, I admit, I have) but think about them as you evaluate how you're going to help. I'm assuming here that we all will help out, but if it was an 'own goal' then there's no reason to score another 'own goal' against yourself by disrupting your practice or recording practice.