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Music is an Art, Not a Sport

August 14, 2013

2013-8-15-2013“Who’s the best guitar player?” someone asked on facebook. I read through the several brave souls that stepped up to the comment section. “Eddie Van Halen!” someone said. Another shouted out the classic: “Jimi Hendrix!” The shred-head insisted that it is Steve Vai or Joe Satriani. The hipster “ironically” said it was someone that “you’ve probably never heard of.” Then I saw one of the most profound comments to ever posted on facebook:

“There is no ‘best’ when it comes to music because it’s all subjective. Music is an art, not a competition or a sport.”

Dude. That’s awesome. And it’s so true. As a musician, it’s very easy to get caught up in who’s better, who’s faster, who sings higher. It’s easy to be so concerned with making music that’s “correct,” as if we need to keep score. There is no scoreboard in music and there are no winners or losers because it’s not a competition. 

I get it. It’s human nature. We all want “the best.” But when it comes to music, the “best” can be a thousand different things because its all up to interpretation. People don’t like that because it’s not very concrete. But so what? Stop worrying and start making music.

Music is about expression and entertainment. Many artists are technically “bad” but are successful because they know how to express and entertain. Kurt Cobain couldn’t play guitar. Bob Dylan can’t sing. But it doesn’t matter because they connected with the audience.

To be clear, I don’t think we should avoid technique or stop improving our skills. Technique is great, and we should be practicing all time. But realize, technique by itself is not music. Technique is only the tool used to express it. So go out there and make art! It’s not a sport, it’s an art!

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