Don’t Ever Say “I can’t be a musician.”

By Drew Wilson

Please, do NOT say that you cannot be a musician. Why not? Do you know how many different musicians there are? Do you know what makes a musician a musician? For those of you who do, awesome. For those of you that don’t, let me give you some reasons, or motivation, as to why you CAN be a musician—if you want to be. This is not a long ‘how to’ blog, just some things to think about if you are truly passionate about music.

1. If you think you must sing like Celine Dion or Frank Sinatra to be a musician, you are wrong.

(In more contemporary terms, singing like Adele or Ed Sheeran is also not a requirement). You really don’t have to. For some reason, singing is sometimes considered a ‘rite of passage’ in the musical world. It doesn’t have to be. Moreover, there a lot of different types (if you will) of singing. Maybe you want to be a back-up vocalist, or an effect vocalist. Or, maybe you really want to sing, but you are limited in range at the moment. My brother really wants to sing. He is very passionate about it, but he is limited in range right now because he is young. That’s okay! It happens!

If you truly believe that you cannot sing, then please don’t lie about it. Don’t use an excessive amount of auto tune. More often than not, you probably can sing, you’re just not . . . like . . . trying. Or, you don’t even know it yet! It may even be something as simple as “Well, I just don’t like the sound of my voice,” which I frequently hear. Well, maybe other people like to hear your voice! Now, to warrant what I said above, there is a monumental difference between using 100% versus 25% voice effect when editing recordings and applying pure sound to your voice. Sounding professional is important, especially if you are wanting to be noticed in that way. But you have to accept that mistakes are going to happen, and mistakes are OKAY! Just be sure to go about it in the correct way. Don’t get me wrong, I like pop music. But really, there is nothing worse than being able to hear each individual note being corrected by auto tune in a pop song. It hurts me.

2. Believe it or not, you do not actually have to play an instrument to be a musician.

I know! Isn’t that crazy! I promise this is not musical heresy. Don’t limit the musical bubble to being highly skilled in guitar or whatever. Think about the final product. Who actually finishes a song/decides when a song ends/edits the song/PRODUCES the song? The producer does. This job is exceedingly important in a way that is highly underestimated (I think). Without these wonderful individuals, a lot of music would not sound the way it does now. This person knows how to make your piano riff have the best possible sound imaginable. Is that not musicianship? It is.

3. Can you answer this simple question: Do you enjoy music?

I know that this question could be drawn out in a very existential type of way, but really . . . If you answered yes, then I believe you are a musician. Even you opinions about music make you a musician. If you are motivated to be a part of the musical world, then do that. Seriously,don’t let your dreams be dreams . . . You have my full support.

So, if you can play a musical instrument, congratulations; you are a musician. If you can carry a tune (or even whistle), fantastic; you are a musician. If you can’t do any of that but you can work the music program and make it agree with you—something hard for me to do—then I believe you are also a musician. There is much more to say on this subject, but I want to stress the importance of music. Like every other type of art, music allows you feel, hear, and even see imagery, emotions, and ideas that you may have never thought of on your own. It is inspirational, encouraging, applications, and strategic in an endless amount of ways.

I believe there is musicality innate within every individual. Embrace it.

Drew Wilson is a Reader for SLAM and an English Major at the College at Southeastern. He enjoys reading, writing, board games, and music. He has a strong passion for teaching percussion at various high schools throughout the Raleigh-Durham area.

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