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Re: Balancing out your practice

It's pretty challenging to take on too much and to do a great job at everything.  It IS TOTALLY possible though, with massive commitment & discipline to be great at lots of different things.  

I'm mainly an upright bassist, but play electric bass, guitars, mandolin, cello, drums, & a bit of flute and try to do a lot of different styles as well.  

What I've found for myself, as someone who survives solely from playing music and who tries to play lots of different instruments & different styles is that at a certain point, though it's essential to be versatile (and super fun to learn about as many things as possible!) is that there is an eventual "hack of all trades" syndrome that happens.  

Basically, life sort of forces us to prioritize and we only have time to do so much in a day.  The more time you spend on something the better you'll be at it.  So the more you divide your time between instruments/styles that's less time with any one instrument/style, even if it enriches your musicality over all, there is a point where something is going to detract from something else.

Personally, I've never cared much about reaching a virtuoso level with any one instrument/style, (like "all I do is play classical violin and I want to be principal of a famous orchestra) I dig it all, but at one point a few years ago, I felt like I should at least have one thing that I'm best at, and that thing became upright bass.  It's been a struggle, because a lot of the time I get hired as "the utility guy".  I'm not a killer electric slap bassist, but if you want someone who can learn songs fast, get the changes and groove well, who also can throw in some cello on a ballad, and cover an acoustic guitar part on another song, then I'm that guy. 

But what I noticed is that the guy out there who is a only a funky monster electric bass player will get just as many gigs as I get as the "utility guy", and he only has to bring one instrument to the gig! So it seems like 6 of one and half a dozen of the other kind of situation, the only difference being the life of the guy who is super good at only one thing tends to have a simpler existence, and the utility guys might have a *slightly* better chance of surviving, but at the price of a more scattered, non-focused existence. 

In the end you have to "follow your bliss" you'll be great at what you love doing, if you want to "chew the big bite" as I call it, you will digest it all, it just takes time--GOOD LUCK! Steve Uccello