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Mastering the Pro Mindset
4th June 2021 • Musicpreneur: Making Money Making Music™ • Committed Media, LLC
00:00:00 00:19:46

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Host Jim Lambie shares the path to mastery of his craft as a professional bassist.


Hey everyone. This is Jim Lambie. And welcome to another episode of the music preneur podcast. This month I have found myself enjoying the opportunities of a musician, getting to play music with. Manned for people. So it's been a pretty awesome time getting back into playing publicly again, as a restraints from the pandemic has been lifted and people are hungry to get out and enjoy some entertainment with that.

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So I did that and. As I've been reflecting on the topics in this this talk that you're about to hear I give a little bit about background and then I asked some poignant questions and these are the kinds of questions that for me personally have been the kinds of things that just keep me Reminding me to stay on track with what it is to be a, my pro versus an amateur.

And you'll hear about it not being about the money and something just to ties in with the fact that I I had a wonderful time with Bryan Beller my last podcast. And we talked about how being an excellent musician. Is the price of, for admission in this business of music. And so this talk is going to talk a little bit more about some of the things that I've discovered were challenging thoughts from the Steven Pressfield book.

And I'll get into that in the talk shortly, but I'd like to just say upfront that something I didn't include in this original And the original recording of the podcast was that after I listened to it, I was like, can you get the impression I've been doing this all my career, the truth that is For those that know me.

I have a lot of gray hair. In fact, I've been going great since I was 12 years old. I've just, but anyway, I legitimately gray haired 54 year old man. And I just want you to know upfront that this talk is coming from a place of a lot of experience of having a, made a lot of mistakes. Okay. So I just thought, I I've learned some hard lessons in this business.

Especially just in the craft of playing or performing music, let alone the fact that there's all this other things that I could do to make my business of music more successful. So I just wanted to say up front I've had some face plants in my career and it's led to some experiences that have really seasoned me and.

Anyway I think that this following talk will be a good reminder for those of us still challenged, especially for those. Who've probably been off of playing for a little while in front of people and are getting back to getting used to it. Just a reminder of the kinds of things that we wrestle with as we pursue our craft and music.

So I hope you enjoy this. If you do, let me know get in touch with us, go to a music, and reach out to us. And let us know if you like this. Hopefully I'll be having more interviews coming up in the near future. As I know Goshi balancing out my performance career and and other things into this, but I love doing this.

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So this is a little bit of my story. And then I'm going to, from there, tell you give you some some challenging questions to consider. So here we go. When I was in high school, I play trombone, but not because it was my first choice. Trombone was a compromise. I agree to in elementary school, This came about in fourth grade where public school system started offering music class.

I was told I could pick an instrument and then get to learn a group setting. I wanted to play sax or maybe trumpet. My dad suggested I play trombone, says he owned one from his days in the us coast guard. After seeing I didn't want to play trombone, he said he'd offer me three choices. Yes, one. Okay.

Trombone or two. Trombone or three. Yeah, I got the pitcher trombone. It was little did I know that this was one of my first pro-level decisions as a musician to take what I could get to get what I felt drawn to. And that was music in high school. I was coming to terms with an urge to pursue music as a career.

And I thought trombone had a limited future for me. In an afternoon thinking about what I should play. I chose electric bass guitar as the instrument, I would someday build a career on the processes of deciding that instrument as a story for another time. But the essence of it is this. I made a choice. I didn't even have a base yet, but reflecting on the events that followed, I saw the decision somehow made me a magnet for the opportunities that would come up later for me after finally getting my first bass guitar, which by the way I bought from a Sears catalog, because it was what I could afford at the time.

I immediately sought out and found an excellent teacher. After a few months of weekly lessons, I quickly realized that this was in fact what I wanted to do for career. Looking back at that, I definitely can say I had no idea. What that meant or were where it would take you, but I just felt a deep in my gut during a lesson, I announced to my teacher at the time, Bob Peder Rudy, a long time inductee at the Rhode Island, jazz hall of fame.

I let them know my intent to make this my career. His immediate response was to have me point out my car, parked outside his music store. They're in Providence. We were at a store that was right on the street. And I was upstairs in a studio above the actual music store and through the window, he looked out and he says, okay, now, point out to me, which one is your car?

ut to him, my metallic green,:

He said all right, then time to get to work. So the decision to turn pro was first in my mind. It, there wasn't any money to show for it yet. I decided I would commit my life to this and see where it would go. See what goals would come with it embark on a journey to the unknown, trusting my heart.

The opportunities came in all sorts of forms, but there was also a lot of challenges along the way. I dealt with something else that I didn't realize came with that decision fear. Fear I would learn is a great indicator. You're on the right track. If you fear following some kind of calling and it means that it re it's really important to you is what I've come to believe.

Now I will elaborate on some ideas of what it is to have a pro mindset and compare them with the thinking of the amateur mindset. My goal here is to help you answer for yourself what mindset you fall into most. Most would define a professional in the following way being paid for a job career or service.

However, the money is earned. It's assumed that the payment for services rendered is the result of a professional it's generally soon that amateurs don't get paid in music. Those who don't do it for money, the assumption is they do it for fun. They may be simply volunteering at church or getting together with musicians for a jam session or sitting in at an open mic night at a club or a bar or something.

I've come to believe that being a pro is a mindset that being a pro isn't about money, but how you think before one makes money in this business in music, if ever there's a mindset and I must be cultivated first, a pro mindset makes a decision to follow a call. To develop beyond their current ability or knowledge.

A me mindset is established before the fruits are seen. While back I overheard a colleague talking about a book that talked about what it meant to be a professional, the war of art by Steven Pressfield, reading it. I found the author to find this concept of pro thinking that put more detail to thoughts I already had about this subject.

So I'll share a few of the ideas directly listed in his, from his great book. I'll go ahead and pick one way of thinking against the other and call it the pro versus the amateur mindset like pro Pressfield does in his book. Do you face your fears or shrink back when fear hits you? You think about that a pro acts in the face of fear.

A pro mind has a respect for fear and doesn't avoid it, but faces it. They understand fear comes with following a calling to seek improvement in their craft. Pressfield says fear is used as a true north, like a compass that points to the right path. And amateur goes to great lengths to avoid facing fear.

They seek the opinions of those they know will give them favorable ass assessments like family or close friends. They avoid performing in situations that could expose them as not good or good enough. They need constant positive reinforcement are devastated by criticism. Even the slightest negative criticism can cause thoughts of quitting giving up.

Do you give yourself excuses or do you believe that your work is a non-negotiable? Pro accepts no excuses. The work is a non-negotiable for the pro there's no rationalizing or allowing for explanation for not doing the work. And amateur makes all kinds of excuses and accept some fact to rationalize why they're not getting the results they desire.

They seek like-minded groups that support their avoidance. As my old mentor, Jim stood out, you still always say. If you want to fly with Eagles, you can't hang out with the turkeys. Are you patient, or do you want instant results? A pro is patient a pro mindset assumes that it takes work over time to fulfill a dream they have for their craft.

It requires a work that is focused and deliberate. A gets it's 90% sweat and 10% talent, but an amateur. An amateur mindset. Doesn't grasp this. There is a misconception that some are just talented or gifted. Amateurs are easily discouraged by the time it takes to develop the skill. Do you seek success as a mystery, a pro demystifies, a pro mind understands that success is not a mystery.

Success is a result. Of concrete effort, amateurs see success as some random act of luck or break or discovery of talent leading to opportunities of fame and success. Do you take the time to be thoroughly prepared or do you expect others to accommodate your lack of preparedness? A pro is prepared. They learn their music.

They work through their weaknesses and get ready for whatever they are committed to. An amateur gets ready enough in their minds. And don't see preparation is necessary. They believe those who seem to have it all together. Don't have to work it. They assume that eventually it will just come to them as their talent develops.

They just keep believing it will happen by itself for them one day. Do you see asking for help as a sign of weakness? A pro doesn't hesitate to ask for help. A pro seeks real-world assessment from trusted established masters or experts in their field. The amateur is afraid that others may find out. They don't know as much as others may assume.

They know they may go to great lengths to hide their lack of knowledge. Do you need others to tell you're doing a good job? A pro will self validate. They don't rely on outside encouragement. An amateur mindset. Desperately wants to hear someone say great job. After a gig. Most pros I work with may.

Now I had fun playing with another pro, but no need to be told how good they are and don't see it as anything special. They already know they are, or they wouldn't have been hired in the first place. Do you recognize. You're in the presence of a a pro is recognized by other pros. There's an old saying from the old west about gunslingers that have fast gun recognizes another fast gun.

Are you dedicated to mastering technique or do you believe it'll just happen? A pro is dedicated to mastering technique. The amateur mindset may do work in spurts, but overall they're relying on inspiration to hit them. I may not see working at mastery as a priority when British author w Somerset Maugham was asked if he wrote on a schedule or just when inspiration hit, he answered.

I write only one inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o'clock sharp. The bottom line is that the pro mindset understands that we have to do the work and understand that success is a by-product of doing the work, no excuses. Now, at this point, I've been sharing a list of the pro mindset thinking and comparing it to amateur thinking.

Perhaps you're just becoming aware that there are those who make money as musicians, but really behave more like the amateur mindset. It's a way of thinking that makes a difference. Pressfield calls shedding the amateur mindset as. Turning pro it's grasping the ideal of working at your craft and committing to a higher level of dedication and focus.

I've learned that it's not about adding more time practicing, but more focus and making the consistent effort over time. Count the most. The journey may have all kinds of successes and failures, but a pro mindset is constantly readjusting and learning from mistakes in order to see it through. So here's the description of turning pro.

The pro learns that fear comes with the territory that there's no need to waste effort. Getting rid of the fear. The amateur tries to get rid of fear, amateur thinking, concentrates effort on seeking out methods to wipe out fear, but a pro learns that doing the work itself is what. Overshadows the fear a pro understands that fear isn't going away and we'll work through it.

Pictures of warrior preparing for battle. There's a nervousness and fear, but the desire to win the fight, it's much greater than following the instinct to avoid the danger and runaway. This is the warrior mind scared. But does it anyway, during my many years in the military, performing for troops, I saw these warriors, the joke about the dangers.

You see the look in their eyes, those who have seen battle they've faced their fears, and they'd done the work in spite of the challenges. Nelson Mandela said, I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it, the brave man is not he who does not feel afraid. But he who conquers that fear, the successful pro athletes.

We admire understand all this. They overcome their fears, put in consistent effort, repetition, except delay gratification, and trust the process. They seek out coaching and real-world assessment to keep getting better with all this said, let me leave you with a short list that may help you as much as they have helped me on my journey.

I got the solicit, a clinic from my friend. Bryan Beller basis for the aristocrats and a group called death clock. And I just recently. Did a podcast interview with him. And I often reflect on this, listen to applied this to my career and have shared it with all my students. These are the four factors of a pro musician.

Number one, master your craft. Keep developing your skills. Invest the time and money and don't have any excuses for not keeping at the work. Number two, execute on demand. Be able to execute what you prepared. It's time to play no excuses. Number three, show up for the band, prepare and be ready to play with the band respects the band schedule.

Make sure your equipment's ready. You're in tune. You have a good attitude. Being able to play well is assumed, but being able to play well with others is very valuable to success. And number four. Show up for the audience after all is said and done, you need to bring your best to your audience. Put aside any distractions that may be on your mind and engage those.

You prepared to play for honor, their time and money spent to come here. Yeah. For some there pro mindset and music has led to well-known success. And for many others, it has led to a slow development of constant improvement, increasing better performance opportunities. That's been my story. Step-by-step on a journey driven by a passion for this craft.

And deep love inspiration for music. I'll leave you with this quote from Michelangelo that I have felt puts all the wonders artistry in perspective. He said, if people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.