Boring People Achieve More

Better put: boring lives achieve more.

I spend a large portion of a typical week in one room, a beautifully equipped 220 square foot music studio with 11 guitars, a drum set, a 88 key synthesizer and a full recording setup. My house is on the same road as my studio, 7 miles south. I joke truthfully that my life is spent driving 12 minutes down that road, playing and discussing music for 8 to 12 hours, driving back down the road and going to bed. I don’t regret this. Because sometimes going deep on a subject involves not being spread too thin.

Having a diversity of interests is a beautiful thing. I actually have many interests:  sci fi, writing, hiking, alchemy, religion. But chasing experiences out of fear of missing out, fear of boredom, or fear of simplicity might keep one from having the quiet freedom to really get good at something. Some of my best music students are ones whose families don’t seem to go anywhere, or who aren’t doing a gazillion activities out of fear that their college resumes are going to look scant.

We risk being a culture of quantity over quality. Consequently, there is something amusingly old fashioned about devoting oneself to the pursuit of excellence along a single path, shutting out other possibilities, other noise. Even if the goal is playing thoroughly modern pop-punk or metal, the method is still old-fashioned if it involves turning off your cell phone and keeping your mind focused on that art for a solid hour–or two or three–or more.

The contrast of new and old is well evidenced by music-oriented YouTube channels. You have these young (teen and 20-something) musicians who have the technical know-how to record and film their musical endeavors–and present it online–but clearly they first spent an immense amount of time alone perfecting their craft. There are teenage drummers and guitarists on YouTube who have reverse engineered famous performances by Neil Peart, Van Halen, et al, and copied them spot on better than ANY musician I’ve encountered personally in teaching 50,000 music lessons and running 13 years of teen bands. I KNOW how much time being that good takes, and these young people, first and foremost, exemplify learning in solitude and isolation from an overly busy life. There’s no other way.

One Comments

  • Buck January 20, 2017 Reply

    This is quite interesting, I expect to share it with some others I know.

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