The Musician’s Pledge, part 1

When you enter the lobby of East Valley School of Music, one of the first things you see is a large poster with The Musician’s Pledge on it.  As students, or even potential students, sit and wait, it is there as a reminder of how to be a successful musician. We are told that if you practice practice practice, you will play your instrument very well.  There is so much more to being a truly successful musician. The Musician’s Pledge is broken into three sections. The first section says, Because I am a well-behaved musician, I listen and follow directions, use self-control, respect people, instruments, and materials, and always do my best. Well-behaved means, “to conduct oneself in a proper way”.  No matter your age, your instrument, or your level of experience, being well-behaved will set you apart as a serious musician.  Listening to your instructors and following their directions will show them you respect them as they help you master your craft.  Using self-control and showing respect to others, your instruments, and materials will show your instructors and others that you truly want to be the best musician you can be.  That is giving it your all and doing your best. Playing a musical instrument has many benefits and giving it your best can also help you do your best in other areas.  According to an article from The Telegraph online magazine, “New research suggests that regularly playing an instrument changes the shape and power of the brain and may be used in therapy to improve cognitive skills.” There is continually more evidence that musicians have organizationally and functionally different brains compared to non-musicians, especially in the areas of the brain used in processing and playing music. If you learn how to play an instrument, the parts of your brain that control motor skills (ex: using your hands, running, swimming, balancing, etc.), hearing, storing audio information, and memory actually grow and become more active. Other results show that playing an instrument can help your IQ increase by seven points. As you can see, playing a musical instrument has many benefits and hopefully that will motivate you to be a well-behaved musician and always hold music in high esteem. Whenever you come across challenges as a musician, think about the end results and always remind yourself of all the great reasons you love to play. “Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.”   Charlie Parker, jazz saxophonist and composer