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How Being a Professional Musician Prepares You for Life: Lessons from the Road

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Matt Jones Drums

As a professional drummer with two decades of rhythm under my belt and a passport full of stamps from over 40 countries, I've learned that the life of a musician is much more than hitting the right notes or keeping perfect time. It's a journey that shapes your character, hones your skills, and prepares you for the unpredictability of life in ways that few other professions can. Whether you're a fellow musician, a self-help enthusiast, or someone deeply interested in mindfulness, discipline, and pursuing your passions, I invite you to explore the invaluable life lessons that come from living in the groove. So, without further ado...

Life lessons from being a professional musician:

1) The Art of Discipline: Hitting the Same Note Over and Over

The first thing that being a professional musician teaches you is discipline. Unlike the romanticized version of a rock star's life, the reality involves hours of practice, often repeating the same patterns until they become second nature. It's this relentless dedication to perfecting your craft that instils a sense of discipline that transcends music.

As a drummer, I've spent countless hours behind the kit since I was 12 years old, refining my technique and building my stamina. This discipline spills over into other areas of life. Whether it's maintaining a fitness routine, adhering to a work schedule, or cultivating a new hobby, the discipline learned from music becomes a foundational skill. It's kept me grounded and never left my work ethic.

It's a reason I got hired over and over again. My discipline kept me focused, it kept me organized, and it kept me consistent. Propelling me forward and never looking back.

2) Adaptability: Playing Along with Life's Improvisations

Life, much like music, is full of unexpected changes. Being a professional musician demands adaptability. You might find yourself playing in a jazz club in New Orleans one night and a festival in Tokyo the next. Each setting requires you to adapt to different acoustics, audiences, and even cultural expectations.

Traveling to over 40 countries has taught me to embrace change and view challenges as opportunities for growth. When a flight gets cancelled or a piece of equipment fails, you learn to think on your feet and find creative solutions. When our inner ear monitor fails and you're performing in front of thousands of people with no reference for pre-planned musical cues, you push through the anxiety. This adaptability is crucial in everyday life, helping you navigate through personal and professional upheavals with grace.

Life is all about adaptation. Whenever life brings you a challenging situation, you have to grow and transform. Embrace the unpredictability and get out of your comfort zone. Through relationship struggles, mental health struggles, becoming adaptable has been a powerful habit for me to develop.

As Darwin proposed with survival of the fittest; only those beings that can adapt in dangerous circumstances are the ones who survive.

I truly believe this skill has not only saved my life in the darkest of moments, but it's helped me become the man I am proud to say I am today.

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Matt Jones in India

3) Mindfulness: Finding the Beat in Every Moment

Mindfulness is about being present, fully engaged in the moment, and it's a state that musicians know intimately. When you're on stage, every beat, note, and breath counts. There's no room for distractions. It's a flow state - an intense focus that cultivates a mindfulness that extends beyond the stage.

Having a growth mindset and practicing mindfulness and gratitude through music has helped me manage stress and maintain mental clarity. Whether I'm meditating, practicing yoga, or simply enjoying a quiet moment, the ability to stay present and centered has been invaluable. It's a lesson in living fully, appreciating each moment as it comes.

When you find your passion and commit to it fully, your flow states become the height of happiness. An out of body 4D experience mired in tranquility. You're so fully present time ceases to exist. You're completely enveloped.. It's spiritual.

Learn to cultivate your flow states, and embody it with everything you do. From your morning cup of coffee to preparing a delicious meal, to enjoying time with friends. It's some true Zen master sh*t; and I believe anyone who can get there lives the happiest life daily - something I think less than 1% of the world get to experience.

4) Teamwork and Collaboration: Jamming Together

Music is rarely a solo endeavor. Even solo artists collaborate with producers, sound engineers, and other musicians. Being part of a band or ensemble teaches you the importance of teamwork and effective communication. You learn to listen as much as you play, to support your fellow musicians, and to blend your sound harmoniously with others.

These collaborative skills are essential in any group setting, whether it's a corporate team, a community project, or a family. The ability to work well with others, to value different perspectives, and to contribute to a collective goal is a skill that benefits every aspect of life.

Whether you want to fall in love and be in that perfect relationship, or have that perfect business, it requires good communication and working well with others. It's a skill after all, one which has to be developed and nourished.

5) Perseverance: Playing Through the Pain

The life of a musician is not always glamorous. It involves long hours, physical strain, and sometimes emotional highs and lows. There are moments when things don't go as planned, when the audience isn't responsive, or when you're simply exhausted. But you keep playing.

This perseverance, this ability to push through challenges and keep going, is perhaps one of the most valuable life lessons. It teaches you resilience and the power of persistence. No matter how tough things get, you learn that giving up is not an option. You keep striving, keep improving, and keep moving forward. I've dealt with depression and overwhelming circumstances for years... Without the discipline of music I don't think I could have ever made it out positively. Music has literally saved my life.

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Matt Jones Professional Drummer

6) Cultural Awareness: A Symphony of Diversity

Traveling as a musician exposes you to a rich tapestry of cultures. Each country, each city, brings its own unique rhythm and melody. Experiencing different cultures first-hand broadens your perspective and fosters a deep appreciation for diversity.

This cultural awareness enhances your empathy and understanding, making you more open-minded and adaptable in social interactions. It's a reminder that while we may have different backgrounds, we all share a common humanity.

7) Passion and Purpose: Living Your Dream

At the heart of being a professional musician is passion. It's the driving force that fuels long nights of practice, endless tours, and the pursuit of artistic excellence. This passion is not just about music; it's about living a life filled with purpose and joy.

Pursuing your passion teaches you the importance of following your dreams, no matter how daunting they may seem. It shows you that with dedication and hard work, you can turn your passions into a fulfilling career. This lesson is universal, inspiring others to chase their dreams and live their best lives.

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Matt Jones Austrailia

Conclusion: The Rhythm of Life

Being a professional musician is more than a career; it's a way of life that prepares you for the many rhythms of existence. From discipline and adaptability to mindfulness and perseverance, the skills you develop as a musician are invaluable tools for personal growth and success.

Whether you're a musician, a self-help enthusiast, or someone passionate about personal development, the lessons from a musician's journey offer insights into living a richer, more fulfilling life. So, the next time you find yourself facing a challenge, remember the drummer's rhythm: stay disciplined, adapt to the changes, stay present, work with others, persevere through the tough times, appreciate diversity, and most importantly, follow your passion. Life, after all, is a beautiful symphony waiting to be played.

Thank you so much for reading this blog post on life lessons of a professional musician. I hope it's helped.

With love and light,


Matt Jones is a writer and entrepreneur with multiple businesses who enjoys inspiring others. He is also a professional musician who has been to over 40 different countries on all seven continents. His personal mission is to create and inspire.

He is from Los Angeles but is now based in Greater London. His latest book "Life 2.0" is available on Amazon. He's a recovering people pleaser and nice guy navigating his way through life trying to maintain his sense of happiness and personal enlightenment. Send a question or feel free to say hi.



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