So you decided to enter the glamorous world of playing music. Well before we get into the how to's and what to do's, in my honest opinions and what has worked for us as individuals, we need to start at the beginning. And that is, "What Is Your Musical Goal?"
When I started playing the ukulele at age 12 I was fascinated by the quick string plucking fingers of Kelly Boy Delima on his ukulele which led to me begging my parents for a similar 6-string Kamaka ukulele (which till this day I still have). I sat in front of the television pressing record (and stop during commercials) on my Betamax VCR for every episode of KHNL's “Hot Hawaiian Nights” closely watching and mimicking every drumroll from Salaam Tillman of the Manao Company as he effortlessly played that beautifully sounding red drum set.
While these individuals and artists inspired and created my desire to play music, I had no clue what my musical goal was at that time. I had to ask myself, what do I want from my musical career?
So ask yourself, what do YOU want?
Do you want to perform at family parties every weekend? Do you want to be a solo performer at a restaurant? Do you want to be in a band? Write and perform your own music? Record an album from the comfort of your own home? Or do you want to perform at the Waikiki Shell wiping the sweat off your brow and signing autographs alongside those artists you have been looking up to? Sounds overwhelming? Well it can be. And trust me that feeling amongst many other feelings will be magnified along your journey if you do not know what it is YOU want.
I get a lot of questions from up and coming artists about what to do and how to do it but I don’t think they really have a musical direction. Most young artists just want to be and sound like their favorite artists because they love those artists. And that’s great. So did I!
There are many inspiring local artists throughout Hawaii. But what makes those artists great? What are their strengths? Fiji is a great singer and solo performer who commands the stage with his powerhouse voice. Jake Shimabukuro is an exceptional ukulele player that can tell a story through his instrumental melodies. Ekolu is best known for their original music and energetic crowd pleasing live performances. Are any of those your strengths? Are they doing exactly what it is YOU wish to be doing? Knowing what your personal strengths are can help you in better understanding and clarifying your ultimate musical goals.
Of course your journey in music will take you in various directions (as did mine) and it is a good idea to know a little bit of everything. Jack-of-all-trades masters of none sort of approach I suppose. Well hopefully master of at least one. Most people “know” I am a drummer. But that is not all that I “know” how to do. And honestly it is NOT my strength (I’ll get to that in a different blog). It really helps to know what your personal strengths are and what your musical goal is if you want to make music more than just a hobby and a long-term career.
So where do you start? Write down 5 specific things you want out of your musical career. What are your musical goals based on this list? What do you see as YOUR strengths? What are you really the best at?
This will help you take the first step in your musical journey. And it'll surely simplify the rest of the steps to follow!
Now get out there and pursue your musical goals!