A couple of weekends ago, Commander Chris Hadfield, a CSA Astronaut currently flying overhead in the International Space Station, participated in an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit.
Okay, first off, let's just take a moment here and contemplate the incredible fact that someone was able to participate in an online Q & A session with someone in space. That is so unbelievably cool!
At one point in the AMA, Commander Hadfield was asked: "Any advice to a young person who wants to get into this field?” Commander Hadfield answered:
“Decide in your heart of hearts what really excites and challenges you, and start moving your life in that direction. Every decision you make, from what you eat to what you do with your time tonight, turns you into who you are tomorrow, and the day after that. Look at who you want to be, and start sculpting yourself into that person. You may not get exactly where you thought you’d be, but you will be doing things that suit you in a profession you believe in. Don’t let life randomly kick you into the adult you don’t want to become.”
What is great about what Commander Hadfield said was it had nothing specifically to do with how to become an astronaut, and more to do with how to live your life. At the same time, there are so many things we can take away from this advice and apply it to what YOU want to do with your musical talents.
Do you want to become faster and more proficient on a drum kit? Start working on the strength in your legs and arms, as well as your flexibility.
Do you want to expand your vocal range? Be careful with what you eat or drink, as some foods can have adverse effects on your vocal chords.
Do you want to get better playing your instrument with other people and maybe start a band? Pour everything you have into team- or group-based assignments and exercises in school in order to learn how to work well with others and achieve common goals.
Do you want to get better at reading music? Take a music theory class, study different pieces of sheet music as you follow along to a recording of the song.
Becoming proficient - or even good - at anything, requires discipline and commitment. It also requires you to continually challenge yourself, to step outside of your comfort zone, and to always be looking for things that stir something in you and excite you. Most importantly, have fun and do something you truly find joy in. There is no better way to remain passionate about something when it's something you truly enjoy.