Robert Estrin - piano expert

3 Things Every Musician Should Know

The three basic concepts every musician should know

In this video, Robert shares with you the three things that every musician should know... simple, but yet very effective. The truth is, you'll be surprised!

Released on March 12, 2014

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Welcome to and I'm your host Robert Estrin with three things every musician should know. Okay, well basically the three things I'm going to talk about today are number one, be true to yourself. This is true of almost any field but in music it's particularly important. I'll get into the reasons why in a moment.

The second thing is versatility is paramount for a successful career in music. And last is that you have to keep things in perspective. That nobody gets hurt in a musical performance. Nobody dies, all right? So let's go through and talk about these.

The first thing, to be true to yourself. Now, what do I mean by this? Well, it's very easy particularly in a musical performance you might be tempted to try to play a certain way that you think people might like. Or if you're a composer you might be compelled to try to write music that you think people are going to enjoy that could become popular. But you know what?

You really can't be an artist and be imitative in that way. You have to go with what comes from inside. When you have a burning desire to share with people. You have, to be honest in your expression or people will feel the insincerity. So as tempting as it might be to try to impress people with something that you can do that you think people might appreciate or be impressed with, this is not the side of an artist and ultimately you will fail.

And even if you are successful if you aren't sharing something that comes from deeply within yourself then you haven't really achieved anything anyway. You won't feel good about the achievement, will you? So that's very important. Now, I talk about versatility. Well you know people specialize and specialize.

Particularly people who become music majors. You have to pick a certain instrument and you have to pick a style. It's very difficult to do both jazz and classical. To be able to play different instruments, double majoring is extraordinarily difficult. Even within music.

Not to mention if you want to do more than one field but the fact is as a musician the more things you can do, the more marketable you are. So for example, if you are a very accomplished classical violinist you might work, you might find some work but imagine if you could also play bluegrass and jazz. And maybe you also write some music and maybe you're adept at recording technology. And maybe you teach. The more things you can do, the more opportunities are to work. And believe me in this world having extra skill sets can really foster a career. One thing can lead to another and you might find you really enjoy some of these related fields.

All right. The last thing is incredibly important that you all musicians have to keep in mind. Which is in a musical performance it may feel really scary but nobody dies. It's not like being a brain surgeon or a pilot. You are just there for enjoyment, to share your passion for music. And you have to keep things in perspective. The other thing is that things that loom so large in your mind are actually not important to the audience. The audience is not there to hear what mistakes when things go wrong. And in fact, they don't have a perspective because they don't know your best.

So if you're not up to par it's not that meaningful to them as it is to you. So give yourself a break in a musical performance. We're all human. Not every performance is going to go exactly as you intended but sometimes you have a pleasant surprise and things go in directions that you didn't even expect them to when you get inspired by an audience. So thanks so much for joining me. I hope these three tips have helped you somewhat and keep the questions coming in. I'm Robert Estrin here at and
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Marge Shery * VSM MEMBER * on June 2, 2016 @2:33 pm PST
wow!!!! The older you get the scarier it is to play. But now your last paragraph sums it all up - the audience is not there to hear mistakes when things go wrong. Good ideas.
Oluwaseun Collins on May 30, 2016 @5:42 am PST
Thanks so very much.
Luigi * VSM MEMBER * on May 30, 2016 @1:03 am PST
Great post, Robert! You are absolutely right and the first "commandment" is maybe encompassing all the others.
Luigi Diamante
Oluwaseun Collins on May 28, 2016 @8:18 am PST
That not what I meant. The student had problem playing triple time after getting acquainted to quadruple time.
Robert - host, on May 28, 2016 @12:31 pm PST
Counting aloud and using the metronome are excellent ways of developing a good sense of time. Playing with other musicians and recording yourself are also invaluable experiences.
Oluwaseun Collins on May 26, 2016 @2:26 pm PST
Dear Robert, thanks for all these expositions. They've been so helpful.
My question is how better could one teach a student who is having difficulty playing triple time because there is interference with quadruple time?
Robert - host, on May 27, 2016 @1:02 pm PST
If you are referring to playing 3 against 4 rhythm, here is an article and video for you:
Michael Stenov * VSM MEMBER * on March 17, 2014 @2:29 am PST
Dear Robert, how true! It was a pleasure listening to you.
I experienced all these things to be true, but I never heard somebody talking about them until now. Thank you very much for your insightful hints! Best regards, Michael Stenov
josh r. on March 14, 2014 @6:06 pm PST
great video robert i learned so much
Maria * VSM MEMBER * on March 12, 2014 @3:01 pm PST
Absolutely spot-on, Robert! If you can enjoy your own performance, the audience will relax too.
Peter Stein * VSM MEMBER * on March 12, 2014 @3:36 am PST
Thanks Robert - I think you are absolutely right!
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