Last updated on March 18th, 2022
Between networking, performing, and god knows how many other things that musicians take on after they’ve moved to Nashville, it’s hard to know exactly where to invest the bulk of one’s energy. We’re always trying to prioritize our day-to-day to ensure that our time and focus never goes to waste on our way up to the fabled “top”.
There are a myriad of different writers rounds, phone numbers, and shakable hands out there that one should seek, but far too often, what we’re doing when we’re by ourselves falls by the wayside.
Yes, I’m talking about practice. And yes, it’s crucial.
You’ve heard “practice makes perfect” in any number of ways, but most of us know by now that perfection has nothing to do with it. It’s entirely about what you’re willing to put in to the best of your ability in order to be an asset to yourself and anyone else who might want to join you on a stage.
While the music industry is chaotic, your attack plan doesn’t have to be. Be it guitar, bass, drums, writing, or vocal cord conditioning, there is no area of the musical spectrum that cannot be funneled through a prism of efficient practice methods.
So let’s get down to brass tacks – or in this case, minutes and hours. How much TIME should you be spending working on your craft?
Time With Your Instrument
Spencer Woodley, a local guitar player who frequents Broadway and regularly tours with Dylan Schneider as a fill in, weighed in on his honing process.
Eight hours sounds like a lot, but it’s commonly been said that you get what you put in. If you really want it… well, I suppose it has to start with whether or not you really want it.
This is a process that one can apply to virtually any instrument. It might get tedious, but you heard the man. It works.
Practice doesn’t always have to be regimented and parceled into a specific time and place. A lot of the time, it can and should become a part of your everyday perception.
Working On Your Voice
But what about vocalists? The voice is the instrument of the body, and we all know how a body can sustain wear and tear if you’re not careful. Eight hours of howling and humming might be a bit hazardous if you’re trying to protect your vocal cords from damage that will compromise your ability to sing at all.
Anana Kaye, one of Nashville’s most unique and exceptional singers, shared some techniques that help keep her voice in tip-top shape and safeguard it from degradation at the same time.
It always helps to have someone guiding you through things. While one-on-one voice lessons can often get pricy, the age of technology lends itself to those seeking something a little more affordable but no less effective.
Honing Your Writing Skills
And then there’s the less mechanical area of writing. How exactly do you go about exercising those abstract creative muscles? Is there a straw steam bath designed for rejuvenating good ideas?
Justine Blazer is a local singer-songwriter, producer, composer, and recording artist. The Detroit-born Nashvillian has spent years against the Music City grindstone building her chops, cutting her teeth, and configuring a no BS mindset that has wielded some tremendous success. She’s currently a member of the Recording Academy/GRAMMY’s voter, the CMA’s and the ACM’s.
Whereas she’s no stranger to the nonstop hustle, she explains a more passive form of practice that doesn’t necessarily adhere to a schedule and can be woven into everything you do.
If you’re trying to get a song cut, you should co-write as much as possible. Getting your name on everything you can is the closest thing to a sure fire path to pub deals and the like. It’s also how Justine and others like her carved out a big hunk of her success.
Whether you’re new to Nashville, you’re thinking about moving here, or even if you don’t live here at all, make sure you’re setting aside the necessary time to PRACTICE. I’ll say it one more time – PRACTICE. Make no mistake, it IS necessary.
Everything that lasts takes rigorous reinforcement and sustenance, and music is no exception. Not even the greatest of the crop get complacent enough to rest on their laurels, so neither should you.