What I've Learned From Collaboration

With the glut of colaborating that I've been doing over the past month, I've had a lot of time to think about the value of working with other talented musicians. Here's what I've been learning from all this collaboration:

• Work with people you love working with, even if that means you don't make as much money. Let's face it: music isn't going to get most people rich or pay particularly well compared to other professions, regardless of which gigs you land. So why not focus on getting gigs and collaborations that you're passionate about?

• Every time you work with another musician, you get a different perspective on music. For instance, Aaron has a very analytical approach to music that has challenged me to be more precise in my playing. Michael is a self-taught musician with a folk background, and his style constantly pushes me to focus on the feel, and simplify my playing to fit the song. The guys in Watching Judas challenge me to arrange compelling pop piano parts that are catchy, and pushes my lyrical skills. By working with a lot of musicians, you have the opportunity to absorb the best parts of who they are musically into your own skill set.

• When you collaborate, you build your own audience and help to strengthen your collaborator's audience, too. By having more people involved that have fan bases, you expose your music to them in a way that makes it (hopefully) compelling. Joint projects are a great opportunity to reach people that might never listen to you otherwise.