photo from Istockphoto
Why should you become a minimalist musician in the first place? Well, musicianship is about playing and creating music and not about collecting a lot of stuff. We call those people collectors.
All you really need is an instrument to play and then you need to get going, working your way up to becoming a better musician. A very efficient and fulfilling way to do this is becoming a minimalist musician.
Stop focusing on all the stuff you think you need to improve your playing. It will not. Practice improves performance.
A lot of stuff will only distract you from reaching your goal. As a musician it is tempting to keep buying the latest gadgets, hottest gear or recording equipment, but in many cases it will eventually end up somewhere in a corner. I don’t say you shouldn’t buy gear or recording stuff, but keep it basic and to a minimal. The less stuff you use, the more authentic you will be as a musician. If you do buy some recording equipment, use what you buy, use what is is meant for. Don’t leave the dust to settle. You know who you are. :-) Write songs and record them. Brilliant ideas won’t stick in your head forever. They deserve to be recorded and put on paper. Buying is the easy part, actually recording is a different matter. It’s great fun but you also need some persistence. Keeping things simple makes it easier.
Being a minimalist musician is about sticking to the essentials, being focused on your music with the least distraction, feeling good about yourself and trying to become as authentic as you can possibly be. Play, write, perform and record authentically. Don’t strive for perfection, strive for authenticity.
Here are some suggestions to becoming a minimalist musician:
– One acoustic guitar is all you need.
Make sure this guitar sounds amazing and plays nice and smooth. It needs to be comfortable for you so it is easy to spread your ideas out on the fingerboard.
– One electric guitar. Buy an all round guitar like a stratocaster or a guitar that fits your needs and particular style. Too many guitars is too much hassle.
– Use minimal effects.
Maybe just a reverb or chorus. Maybe your amp already has a reverb.
The less effects you have, the less dependant and distracted you are, the more you can concentrate on real music.
– 3 channel amplifier.
Go for a 3 channel amp with sparkling clean, bluesy distortion and an overdrive that rocks the hell out of you. This way you don’t need extra fuzzes, super monster X blaster distortions and blah blahs. Keep it basic.
– Use a cable instead of a wireless system.
Wireless systems are messy. You need to switch batteries all the time and if something is broken you need to figure out where the problem lies. Again it’s more stuff.
– Focus on guitar playing. When you practice you practice, when you write you write, when you record you record. There are so many things that can keep you distracted from what is essential. Time is lost easily. Make sure you keep away from distractions. Turn off the internet, TV, mobile phone, etc, Stay focused.
– Memorize songs, chord progressions, scales, etc.
Try to memorize what you learn as fast as possible so you don’t need a book or laptop in front of you all the time. Memorizing music makes you a better musician and a more flexible one.
– Make sure you know your repertoire. Learn your music thoroughly so that you feel good about playing in front of an audience. It also gives you more confidence with every new piece you learn. What is a musician without a repertoire?
– Wear easy clothes that you feel comfortable with.
As a musician you don’t need much more than a good pair of jeans, a t-shirt and some sneakers or flip flops. Whatever you’re wearing make sure you can move around easily on stage and feel flexible when you need to jump, sit, kneel, turn around or whatever.
– Always keep your stuff in the same place.
It’s great to you know where your (minimal) stuff is, so you don’t need to look where you put that damn capo or your collection of picks every single time. Keeping things in the right place makes life a hell of a lot easier.
– Make sure you feel lean and fit. Work out. You need to be in good shape mentally and physically to practice, record and perform. You fingers also appreciate some good warm up exercises before you get started.
– Compact gear setup.
Again, If you use minimal gear you don’t have to carry a lot of stuff around everywhere you go. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just bring your guitar with you and one or two other things so you don’t have to worry about anything else besides playing great music. Strive for a minimal setup.
Possession isn’t nine-tenths of the law. It’s nine-tenths of the problem – John Lennon