Practice vs Gigs – Which is More Important to Musical Growth?

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I get this question frequently and it's a good one: Should I take live gigs even if they reduce my practice time? Or... My practice is spent working mostly on gig material, is this ok?

These are general questions and I can only answer them from my own experience. Like I said, I don't want you to stop practicing. But I DO want you to practice with purpose, for a reason...and there is no better reason to get in the practice room than having the pressure of an upcoming live performance. So yes, you should stop practicing so much so that you can play actual music with other actual musicians. STOP practicing so that you can START playing music. That music will then inform your practice time.

You may practice less, but you will grow more. I guarantee you that. So many players seem to be falling into the trap of becoming closet musicians with insane chops. But when they get on a gig, they don't know what to do. The chops won't help you when they ask you to play that ballad. Or they need you to keep a solid 2 and 4 so the dance floor can stay hopping. Or they need you to swing the band harder. Etc. etc. etc.

So if you have the following two options, which should you take?

Option 1: Play live (a gig) with other musicians 7 times a week but only be able to practice 30 minutes a day.

Option 2: Play live with other musicians once a week but be able to practice 3 hours a day.

It's Option 1 every time for me. You will grow, grow, grow in ways that will actually impact your musicianship for the better. You may not be able to play that slick lick you saw on YouTube, but you WILL be able to play music better!!

I hope you found this practice and gigging discussion helpful and educational!!

Make sure you check back next week for another video!!

In the meantime, please sign up for my free program "30 Days to Better Doubles."

Also check out my website and my YouTube channel for more lessons!!

Stephen Taylor - MU Educator
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