Nature/nurture argument goes on forever. How much of who we are is what we’re born with? How much of us comes from our families and our environment? So many musicians come from musical families, making us wonder if our talent comes from our genes or from being around music throughout childhood.
However we got here, now we need to play. And for many of us, we feel like music is why we’re on planet earth. Here are five signs that music is your true calling.
1. You Cry Curing The Good Parts
When you’re all alone in the car, listening to a favorite track, the music is so good it makes you weep. When you’re stopped at a light, you’re air-drumming the big fill. You sing so loudly in the shower, your neighbors can hear you. If a guitar solo ever made you tear up, or you’ve made eye contact with other motorists while unapologetically belting out a big chorus, a life of musicianship might be for you.
2. Playing Music Makes You Feel Like A Kid Gain
When you were in elementary school, you were so excited to run outside to play that you’d get out there with your jacket half on and your shoes untied. You were in too much of a hurry to stop and get dressed properly. Now, you might have four kids of your own or a demanding job, but playing music makes you feel like a little kid again.
No matter what you’re doing all day, the thought of tonight’s rehearsal or Friday’s show keeps you looking forward and pulls you through your other responsibilities. That level of joy and enthusiasm will pull others to you, both bandmates and fans, and makes you a good candidate to do this for a living.
3. Music Takes You Someplace
When you hear certain songs, you’re immediately transported in time. Perhaps to a pickup truck by a lake in 1982. Or to a gritty Detroit club where you first saw this band. Or to the city park where you were walking when your boyfriend dumped you.
Music contains powerful associations; it’s not just a nice beat and a catchy melody. For you, songs are like time capsules that capture a moment in time or a place in the world.
Of course, tons of music fans who’ve never picked up an instrument feel it, too. But those who don’t feel anything beyond a need to shake their booties will probably not find themselves onstage.
4. You Break Down the Details Of Other Peoples’ Music
Friends and family might find it obnoxious. Some might call you a snob. But you have an overwhelming need to deconstruct the music you hear, figure out why some things work, and articulate what it is about the music you can’t stand.
You’re the one who notices the details – the one who says, “I think they’re playing it too fast,” or, “This song has one chorus too many.” Whether it bothers your friends or even bothers you, this is a good thing.
Songwriters also have to be song editors, and your ability to look at the details of your own work, discard what’s not working, and keep what’s goodwill makes your music grow.
This talent will also inspire you to do better. When you hear something truly great, your competitive sidekicks in and you want to grab your instrument and make something.
The author John D. McDonald once said that writers read everything with “grinding envy or a weary contempt.” It’s the envy that really gets you going… and keeps you getting better.
5. You’re Very Open-Minded About Different Genres Of Music
Find a good musician, and you’ll find a diverse listener. “I like all kinds of music” is one of the most typical things good musicians say. Look through a record collection and you’ll find ska, reggae, rap, classical, jazz, rockabilly, Bollywood.” If it’s good, it’s good.
This recognition comes from an appreciation of good technique and skillful production. It also comes from the ability of the artist to recognize other artists.
Able to sniff out derivative work instantly, we also see originality for what it is and respect it, regardless of style. And of course, investing ourselves in near artists and new styles will only help us as we pursue our true calling.
6. You’re Not Afraid To Dream big
You can’t get to the big stage without imagining it first. If you don’t see yourself there, you’re probably not gonna get there.
You got to have the guts to dream it to be it, and it starts with thinking big no matter how many people believe you can do it. All you need is to know you can, and you will.
7. You Have Good Taste
You’ve got a great ear, good taste, and high musical standards. And no matter how far you are on your musical journey, whether you’re selling out Madison Square Garden, on your way there, or playing locally, you know the difference between good and great and you’re willing to take a stand for creating exceptional work.
8. You Care Less About The Destination And More About The Journey
It’s not about the fame for you (though some money and what that brings would be nice.) Fact is, you can’t help yourself –music is not a hobby, it’s a calling.
For as long as you can remember, you’ve been obsessed and can’t do anything else. You’d rather sit in your room and write a song than go to a party. You prefer the recording studio, to a barbeque. You stay up all night just to finish that song not because you want to because you have to.
9. You’ve Got Something to Say
You know that music helps people (and you) connect to their emotions, gives them a place to let their hair down, to heal, to find themselves.
Plus, you have a lot you need to say. You’ve had a lot of hurts, a lot of joy, and a lot of in-between and you want to express it, get it out, and make sense out of this crazy existence.