Universal Skills

If a sprinter decided to become a marathoner, they would have to change their training and build different muscles.

Same is true if a wrestler decided to play baseball, or a swimmer took up the high jump.

This is true for musicians, too. A pianist can train to play flawless Beethoven sonatas and be stymied by a lead sheet; a singer can excel at “My Funny Valentine” but butcher “Si tra i ceppi.”

That said, there is basic fitness required to excel at any endeavor, and this fitness is easily transferrable. Coordination. Agility. Balance. Lung and heart function.

Just as all athletes must have these skills,  encourage musicians to build basic musical fitness skills that will transfer regardless of their musical path.

  • Ear Acuity (melodic and harmonic dictation)
  • Piano Skills (particularly harmonic playing and technique)
  • Interplay (reacting to collaborative musicians in the moment)
  • Curious Listening (listen voraciously and wonder about what you hear)
  • Clarity of Speech (know how to speak music so another musician can understand)

What other skills do you consider part of the basic fitness regimen for any musician?