David A. Powers

Five Conditions for Musical Success: Part 2

Sun, Jan 25, 2015 2:37 PM

Any musician who is seeking to achieve greater mastery of their art needs to ensure they are building on a solid foundation. In part two of this post, I examine two more cornerstones for musical success: tradition and self-discipline.

Learning from the Tradition

Inspiration is vital to growth, as is access to theoretical and practical information on one's craft. However, in our age we are not limited to learning from teachers who are physically present for traditional lessons.

For example, many aspiring jazz improvisors have learned much of their art from listening closely to recordings of their heroes. Additionally, there are a plethora of online websites, books and videos that can act as resources and sources of inspiration.

Even a walk through the forest can become a moment of inspiration. Jazz saxophonist Eric Dolphy and modern composer Olivier Messiaen both incorporated the songs of birds into their musical styles.


In the end, nothing can come out of our musical endeavours if we do not exercise self-mastery. Often we must overcome a great deal of fear, complacency, and self-doubt in order to achieve breakthroughs. Self-discipline allows us to continue in our work even when things seem difficult, and it is the key to unlocking our musical potential.