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Re: Re: Balancing out your practice

When I grew up, my father always used to warn me, "be careful of being a jack of all trades and a master of none." Of course, then he'd screw my head up by talking about how much he liked
the concept of being a 'Rennaisance Man',
 which he really was in a lot of ways.

So, over the years, as I began to be dedicated to becoming a multi-instrumentalist, I, too have struggled
with the same thoughts that you have expressed, Steve.

I'd like to weigh in with a different perspective, however.

If we are merely talking about 'chops', then there is a definite risk of letting one's 'chops' diminish on one instrument because you are suddenly, putting more attention into another one that has a really different skill set. I learned that here while back, because I had played trumpet so much for a couple of years and then because I've been fascinated by piano and strings instruments this last year that I had neglected my trumpet. Of course, when I went back to it, I had back slid considerably with my embouchre. I found though, that when I re-fell in love with my trumpet that it has just taken a few weeks to start to build my chops back..........not entirely like learning how to ride a bike.

But more importantly than that, is the fact that when we let ourselves follow our 'musical bliss' as it were,
we also constantly increase our over all understanding of how music works.

Chops are important but I find that how one uses those chops says almost everything about their musicianship. This is why, increasingly, I have concentrated on teaching my students about 'music' as opposed
to , specifically,   drums or percussion or bass or piano or what have you.

This increasing understanding of and maturation of 'musicality' is a gigantic part of music.

I was listening to Stevie Ray Vaughn on a radio program the other day. I never listen to Stevie Ray Vaughn, but in this case, he was playing a solo and he used three pitches and finally four pitches in an entire part of a solo. It was wicked good. I was just marvelling at how entirely 'musical' he was and how satisfying those three pitches were
in this particular solo.

Well, any hack beginning blues lead guitarist can play three or four note solos and you never get the same feeling from it.
The difference is entirely 'musical maturity'.

So, I would encourage you to just keep playing what your heart tells you to play, whether it is the instrument you have the most mastery on or one that is brand new to you. If you are constantly growing musically, it will reflect
on your playing.

Sure, people who concentrate on one instrument drag less gear to a gig for the same pay as you make, lugging
six instruments.     This is a spurious framing, however, I believe.

What's important is what makes you happiest. I've personally known musicians who make ten times as much money as I do who are miserable (and some who've made that much money who are really happy , too).

What's important is following what feeds your aesthetic soul.

I know you , Steve, you are meant to play a lot of instruments.......it's in your blood. From an old fart who's been doing it a very, very long time, I encourage you to not trip out on it too much.

Just play your song, brother!

affectionately,   Rick