I am not a musician, and I have absolutely no musical talent. However, that will not stop me from giving some opinions and observations.

1. Most musicians do their best work in their younger years. If you are just starting out give it your best. If you are lucky enough to make a living with your music, you will be doing your best work.

Example: Bob Dylan. Was brilliant 40 years ago. Hasn’t done anything worthwhile since.

Exceptions: Lou Reed and Neil Young. Doing great work today.

2. If you have a genre of music you like, stick with it. Don’t try to change with the times. If you are lucky the type of music you play will remain popular, at least with enough fans to make it worthwhile.

Examples: Rolling Stones and Tom Petty.

3. Never break up a successful band or group. 99% of the time the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. How many times have you heard of a band breaking up at the height of their popularity, and the members disappear completely? The answer is usually.  And how often does a band re-form after a break-up with disastrous results? The answer is almost always.

Examples of disasterous reunions: Guns ‘n Roses, Television

Exceptions: Gwen Stefani, Beyonce.

4. Words are unimportant in music. The voice is just another instrument. You are not going to change anyone’s life with the words you write unless the person is very stupid. Concentrate on the music.

5. Don’t be afraid to borrow or steal as long as you don’t infringe on copyright laws. Some of the best musical ideas were borrowed, then improved.

Advertisements