I had a great experience growing up in a family that valued music. My parents were both musicians, and in almost any way that's possible I had every opportunity to get a great education in music. Still, there's always things I wish I could have a redo on. Here's my top 3:
3. I wish I’d listened more to my teacher.
I fought my teacher on a lot of stuff (I was a strong-willed child), including my posture at the piano. I insisted that it didn’t matter that I slightly slouched while I played. It didn’t affect my playing, so why bother working on it?
It was no big deal, until I got a job playing 10 hours a week at a piano bar. After over a year of working with a chiropractor, I finally straightened out my neck and my technique. Even if you don’t think you’ll become a professional pianist, there’s no harm in building good habits that will set you up for success long-term, no matter what happens.
2. I wish I’d been more consistent.
Despite my teacher’s best efforts, I occasionally backslid in my practicing growing up. This was especially true in high school, where there were tons of distractions.
I made the decision that I was going to pursue music as a career my senior year of high school. As part of my grand bargain to buck the traditional career path, I dedicated myself to playing 4 hours every day for the summer months after graduation.
In that short time, my personal growth as a musician skyrocketed like nothing I’d ever experienced before. To this day, I still wonder where I’d be musically if I’d had the willpower to be that dedicated at an earlier age.
1. I wish I’d sought out more music mentors.
I did have great musical mentors growing up (both parents were musicians), but there’s something special about having someone other than your mom and dad to encourage and challenge you musically. Group teachers are valuable, but one-on-one connections are where I’ve seen the most growth in my career.
Seeking out great mentors are worth their weight in gold, and I wished that I’d learned that sooner.