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When it comes to the music that you love, it’s something that you can’t wait to listen to morning, day, and night. You have so much appreciation for what the artist does to make you feel good when you’re bobbin’ your head to the beat, doing a two-step to a country song, or head banging until you head snaps off.

The natural tendency after that is to idolize them like they’re are more than human. But the question is, should we idolize them?

My answer is this: If you want to be a successful musician, then no, you shouldn’t idolize anyone at least not too much.

Why do we idolize?

Music can inspire anyone to do anything, that’s its greatest power. Since musicians create the music that inspires, they end up being the ones admired.

As a young musician I looked up to several different artists or bands. I took guidance from the words in their music. I was inspired to make something of my life. Eventually these feelings of inspiration took over me, and I found myself compelled to pursue music, something at the time I thought I would never do seriously.

The more I loved the music, the more I paid attention to the artist. I would seek to emulate them. Slowly they became something more in my mind. They were up on stage being electrified across the masses. Sounds that they created were injected into all ears and minds as people would zone out or go ballistic. That feeling of elation is what sticks with me.

What happens next

At the time I didn’t think I could do that. I mean here I was watching them make the music and I’m just another face in this crowd.

Then it hit…they must have something I don’t. They are guitar idols. My talent and abilities are beneath them. They have natural talent. My talent must lay somewhere else in some other field. Suddenly the artist became some kind of force beyond my comprehension, like they weren’t normal people.

It was then that I polished them off, displayed them on a pedestal, and walked away making excuses for my own shortcomings. This mentality is complete bullshit.

The reality behind the talent

I will agree that great musicians do sit on a pedestal. It is a pedestal that’s 100 miles high, has spikes, buzzards that circle and peck at you, and they climbed it on their own with no safety gear. These great musicians put in way more time and effort than anyone else. Simple as that.

The pitfalls of idolization

I can say from personal experience that idolizing a band or musician too much eventually led to the belittlement of myself and my own potential.

The problems with idolization arise when you look at a musician and say, “Wow, he’s a God. A guitar God.” First off, that would piss-off, annoy, or deter the artist if you said that to them. They don’t see themselves as Gods. This only serves to separate you from them. They cease to be something you can comprehend or even hope to become. You have now mentally screwed yourself by devaluing what you have to offer.

Tear down the idol

Do yourself a favor and tear down your idols. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t respect or praise what they’ve done. This doesn’t make what they’ve done any less amazing. The truth is that you need to be able to see them objectively and realistically. It’s the only way that you will be able to break free from the constraints that artist-God worship does. Humanize them and make your music.

A note on emulation

There are some practical and useful aspects to idolization called emulation. Basically emulation is our efforts to be more like the artist we love. I would go further to say that this is one of the best ways to begin to make great music. However, I will emphasize the word “begin”. It’s appropriate for the beginning, but not for the rest.

The essence of making music is to find your own way to express yourself so you will need to eventually come into your own as a musician. Until then, emulation will help you get started off in the right direction.

All in all, value yourself. Everyone has something important to say including you.

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