So, you want to be a professional musician, huh? Well, you better get ready to put in some serious practice time. Just how much, you ask? Well, that depends on a few factors, like:
your level of proficiency
how badly you want to avoid embarrassing yourself in front of a crowd!
Now, if you think you’re the next Mozart (or even the Mozart of Madras – and don’t you dare ask “who’s that?”), you might be able to get away with just a few hours of practice a day. Big problem here though – are you (or your parents) the one(s) who’s sure you’re as good as Mozart? Evaluating musical talent and proficiency requires a high level of objectivity. You’ll need to hear it from your peers, perhaps from internationally-recognized certification bodies (such as RSL Awards, Trinity, etc), from senior musicians you look up to, etc. And even then – sacking out on the couch watching Netflix, and assuming that your innate talents are enough to make a difference in a pro-musician career is evidently misguided.
For the rest of us mere non-Mozartian mortals, we'll probably need to dedicate a bit more time to the craft. Let's just say, if you're not sweating through your t-shirt, you're probably not practicing hard enough.
Of course, your goals as a musician are also important to consider. If you're happy playing a few chords around a campfire, you probably don't need to practice quite as much as someone who wants to be the next Beyonce. And if you're aiming for that level of superstardom, well, let's just say you might as well move into the practice room permanently. And be very aware that those levels of success take a LOT more than just musical talent to get to – you’ll need to display prodigious abilities in management, public relations, marketing, business development, branding and so much more.
It's also worth keeping in mind that the type of music you play can impact how much practice time you need. If you're a classical musician, you might need to put in more hours than someone playing in a garage band. And hey, if you're a punk rocker, you can probably get away with a few missed notes here and there ;) – that is the aesthetic, after all!
And let's not forget the demands of the job. If you're a studio musician or a touring performer, you’ll need to put in extra practice time to keep up with your schedule. But if you're mostly playing in your bedroom, well, you can take your sweet time.
In the end, the amount of practice time you need as a musician is as unique as your musical style. But one thing's for sure – regular practice is key to keeping your skills sharp and your audience entertained. So grab your instrument, put on your sweatbands, and get ready to rock (or croon, or whatever it is you do). It's time to practice like a pro!