Effective Musical Growth. Our Comfort Zone?

by | May 4, 2016 | Music Thoughts

Why do we resist effective musical growth?

Steve (Bass) and friends playing Jazz at the Intermezzo, Wangaratta

Running through some Jazz standards on the cafe deck.

When it comes to personal progress and development, effective musical growth does seem to begin at the end of your comfort zone. And I have to admit, as the heading says, not a truer phrase has been written that describes my music exploration over the last 25 years.

I’m not quite sure how many times my challenge barometer thinks I should “reinvent” with a new growth life, but since forming Steve Nicel Music I feel like I’m putting myself into an ever evolving hot zone. And taking on challenges that appear more fit for 4 people, rather than one!

To give an example. I recently spent some free time at a small cafe playing bass at the Wangaratta Performing Arts Cafe. Although being great fun playing with my son on drums, it fundamentally pushed my internal comfort barometer in terms of playing unfamiliar tunes with unfamiliar musicians off jazz standard lead sheets. It was interesting both acoustically and musically, and those observing closely may have noticed a bead of sweat every now and then. But we got through it and as hindsight proves time and again, my instrument skill-set grew a little more that day than the previous. Funny that!

So It seems that by my core nature, I’m not completely satisfied unless I constantly challenge myself. Pushing through personal barriers and as if unwittingly strolling into that uncomfortable zone knowing the chance of failure is there. But forging ahead anyway.

It’s a great reminder that I could stay in the comfort zone of my production studio, maybe write a bunch more instrumental catalogue tracks, or get out and play sometime to work on a different but equally important kind of musical growth. It’s an interesting but rewarding conundrum I think.

What do you think?

Are you always looking for new ways to challenge yourself? Or like me, do you resist stepping out into the unknown even though you know that’s where the gold is?

Post a comment if this strikes a chord (yes, pun intended), and share your thoughts.

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