Aubrie Dionne is visiting my blog today to talk about how being a musician helps her write and inspired her new book.
How Being a Musician has Made me a Better Writer
1. Music has taught me patience, hard work and discipline. Practicing an instrument is like exercising- you don’t see the rewards right away. It takes a good week of long tones to finally start sounding stronger at all and years to get the fuzziness out of your tone. It wasn’t until Grad school-twelve years of playing- that I started to achieve the clear, resonant flute tone that I have today by changing small things with the shape and size of my mouth, my lips, and my chest cavity. So, if anything, music has taught me that patience, hard work, and discipline will yield results sooner or later- you just have to keep working at it.
2. Music has taught me how much time you really need to invest be a pro. I just read an article in Flute Talk magazine- yup there’s such a thing- about this conservatory teacher who asks his students to practice 20 hours a week- that’s like 3 hours a day! If you truly want to sound professional, than you need to spend A LOT of time with your instrument. I have to practice an hour or two a day just to maintain the level that I’m at for rehearsals and teaching.
The same goes for writing. 500 words a day isn’t going to cut it. Right now I dedicate 2-3 hours a day to my writing, and finally, I’m starting to see results.
3. Music has taught me how to express emotion. The tools you use with music are different than with writing, but you need emotion in both just the same. With music, you use vibrato-waves in the sound, dynamics-loud and soft, rubato- bending the tempo, and emphasis on certain key notes to achieve an emotional result. They all have to work together in synch and make sense to produce the desired effect. With writing, you can achieve emotion with a mix of internal thoughts, outward actions, character arcs and development, and specific associations to produce a desired emotional effect- but it has to work right together- just like music to produce the emotional result.
4. Music has taught me how to receive criticism in a positive way and how to use it to better myself. Each week at a music lesson, if you have a good teacher, your teacher will give you suggestions on how to improve. If you take those suggestions, over time you start to see how they can make you a better player. Sometimes you don’t want to hear how you don’t sound clear, or you’re playing the wrong rhythm, but you grow to learn that your teacher is there to help make you better. The same goes with your editor. You have to truly listen to what they are saying and then try to implement it in your writing.