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A good musician or music business owner knows growth is one of the most important aspects to have a long, successful, and fulfilling career. This means continuing to practice, study, and learn. This means that person is always a student of music.

Of course, this is always easier said than done. It is easy to fall into a rut in business or performance where you do what you have to do to keep the business running but forget about the craft and the ongoing learning that is required.

Here are some suggestions to continue to be a lifelong learning of music.

Consider Categories that Parrell Yours

Many musicians perform or work in a certain genre—but there are big opportunities to learn outside that particular genre. Cal Newport is a nonfiction writer. In his spare time, he watches movies with his wife. But he has discovered there are opportunities to learn about the craft of writing by watching movies.

In music, this might mean you are a classical musician. There are opportunities to listen to or even practice other genres like pop or rock n roll. Consider how the styles are either similar or different. Use it as an opportunity to spark your curiosity. It might bring new ideas to your business—or it might not! But you still will probably learn something in the process.

Break Out of Your Rut

In business, it becomes far too easy to fall into a rut—where you just keep repeating the same practices over and over again. Or perhaps you are learning by rote—where you are doing things time after time in an automatic way or without thinking. Your heart may no longer be in it.

It’s time to break out of this and do something different. There are many places to seek new inspiration. Consider this example: L’Rollin Clarinet Band – Thunderstuck. Bringing together different styles is a great way to experiment and get those creative juices flowing.

You may also consider the interpretive path. For example: Consider a story you love. Instead of simply reading it, play the progressive feeling and mood of the tale. Think Peter and the Wolf.

Watch and Learn

Perhaps one of the best ways to always be learning is to watch others around you. Isn’t this what students do? Attend a lecture. Go to performances. Pay attention to what other musicians are doing around you. Watch how they perform. If attending something in person isn’t an option, watch videos online. Perhaps you start with your favorite performer. Pay attention to how they perform, who they follow, and what they are inspired by. There are many opportunities to learn.

Consider Your Opportunities

Another way to break out of your rut—and to always be learning—is to go back to school, in a modified way. There are many programs where you can take lessons or sessions with another musician. You can learn a new skill in a workshop. Or you can collaborate in new and different ways.

Ongoing education could also look like reading more about your craft. Perhaps it is learning more about music theory or history. Consider what you would like to learn and look for opportunities.

Building on this, students are constantly getting feedback from teachers. Look around to see who might be able to give feedback on your business. Perhaps it is friends, family members, or colleagues. It needs to be honest, constructive, and helpful criticism though. Sometimes the comment section on your social media feed isn’t all that constructive—and sometimes it is. Assess and decide what you can use to help you improve. In your heart, you’ll know which is which. If not, try it out and see how it plays … literally.

With music, we are always learning—and we are always a student of music. Now is a great time to consider if you are in a rut, and if there is something new you would like to learn. Start looking for the opportunities today!