50 tips to become a better classical musician
1. Subscribe to blogs and news about your instrument.
2. Know who are the best players of your instrument (living and dead).
3. Know all the important concerts.
4. Perform a solo recital at least every 2 months (concerts do not count)
5. Learn about other musical genres (Jazz, Blues, Rock, Country, etc.) and try to understand their musical forms, chord progressions, and then try to arrange something for your instrument.
6. Learn to improvise.
7. Try to compose your own cadences.
8. Go to music festivals.
9. Make friends with Concertmasters, Conductors, Composers, Arrangers, Manager of salsa groups, jazz musicians and any other music group around you.
10. Schedule an audition as a substitute at the nearest popular orchestra or group.
11. Always be on time.
12. Bring all your equipment: stands, music, extensions, plugs, etc.
13. Dress according to the occasion, if in doubt dress well.
14. Try a different path in the music business other than acting: composing, organizing, conducting, working as a luthier, managing a symphony, and so on.
15. Teach as much as you can: Not only will it bring you money, it will also remind you of the basics of your instrument, things you will need for the rest of your life as a performer.
16. Play all available gigs no matter how much they pay, especially early in your career, you’d be surprised how many contacts you’ll make – this will lead to future gigs !!
17. Always make friends and tell them what you do – they will spread the word for you.
18. Have a Facebook account and create groups and fan sites.
19. The same happens with twitter and other social networks.
20. Create your own website.
21. Participate in music forums.
22. Practice sight reading, it is easier to do with friends, read quatrains, duets and trios often.
23. Practice your excerpts !: Wake up at 3 am and play Don Juan or another difficult fragment and play it without heating or anything! It is an amazing feeling.
24. Put on an audition for friends and teachers before reality.
25. Become a member of music societies, clubs, and unions like the American Federation of Musicians.
26. Subscribe to music magazines.
27. Attend as many concerts as you can, it will help you with your musical performance, style, etc.
28. Know the score of the pieces you are playing: solo, chamber, orchestra, etc.
29. Try creating your own library of scores.
30. Try building a music library out of CDs and DVDs.
31. Listen to the pieces you are working on (chamber, solo, orchestral, etc.) at least once a day.
32. Get to know the composers of the pieces you are working on (style, period, life, etc.)
33. Practice at least 4 hours a day, 6 or more for competitions.
34. Learn Sibelius or Finale.
35. In times of frustration, call a friend and tell him how much you love music and how much you do not want to give up, explain how difficult the music business is and how hard you are willing to work.
36. You may want to learn German or Italian.
37. Sharpen your transposition skills.
38. Learn the basics of the piano.
39. Study music and physics, the simple things.
40. Listen to other musical genres that you are not interested in and learn from them. Find something good about it.
41. Learn about the major works of Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and all the great masters.
42. Learn the orchestration.
43. Classical music for du-mmies: it’s a great source, I learned a lot of things that I didn’t know, great book!
44. Practice your scales every day; this is the key.
45. Don’t waste time in music theory class, learn everything about harmony, counterpoint, instrumentation, etc. This helps to better understand the music, it will be reflected in your performance, of course!
46. Help organize someone’s recital or musical event, one day you will need them and you will also have the experience.
47. Join your church music group.
48. Prepare for competitions (international or local)
49. Blog about classical music.
50. Get up early to practice marathons with your friends.