How and why musicians should leave their comfort zones

Musicians’ lives are built around repetition.

Repetition of scales, passages, auditions, performances, and years of constant hard work and dedication to their craft.

It’s understandable that musicians can become comfortable and complacent after a while.

However, it is important for musicians to regularly explore beyond the boundaries of their comfort zones so they can continue growing as people and as artists. Leaving your comfort zone can be simple, like working on a new style, or more pronounced, like moving to another country. (I’ve lived in three different countries, and this has definitely influenced me as a musician!)

Leaving our comfort zones is actually good for us because it causes the brain to function in different ways, which helps you grow more confident and experience new things. There are many other benefits to stepping outside of your comfort zone, and you can read more about a few of them here.

How can musicians leave their comfort zones? Here are a few ideas to help inspire you:

  • Switch up your practice space. Sometimes, it’s best to start small. Reorganize your practice area by changing locations, switching directions you face, hanging new artwork, or other things which provide new visual stimuli to recreate the feeling of a new experience.
  • Learn a new style of music. There are infinite genres of music in the world, so take your pick and dive in! Listen to other artists, watch YouTube tutorials for specific techniques, order new method books, or explore other options for you to delve into a different musical style.
  • Break your routines. Leaving your comfort zone can be as simple as practicing during a different time of day or trying a new warm-up routine. Experiment with ways you can reinvigorate your routine to slowly push the boundaries of your comfort zone.
  • Listen to new artists. When you find your favorite artists, ensembles, or repertoire, it can be tempting to listen to them on repeat. Fight this urge and constantly seek new music in your daily routine.
  • Embrace the unfamiliar. Think back to your first day at a new school or job. You probably felt a mixture of emotions, including anxiety at the unknown and excitement at the possibilities. Find ways to recreate this feeling musically so you can continue to expand your musical boundaries.
  • Do something that scares you. Oftentimes, being scared is a sign that you are entering uncharted territory. This can be a good thing since it means that you are leaving your comfort zone. Whether it’s sharing your new website on social media or playing your first virtual recital, try to regularly do activities which scare you, but will ultimately help you grow as a person and musician.

How have you left your comfort zone as a musician?

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