You now have access to the exclusive Camp Electric magazine. Each year students receive this limited edition magazine and now you can download your own copy for free!
At this point in the year, you may be feeling like your New Year’s resolutions have long faded. It turns out the new year isn’t all that different from the one that came before it. Regardless of what you’ve done so far in 2020, there’s still plenty of time left for you to make you mark this year. One of the best ways to create change in your life, whether it’s in business, your personal environment, or through your music, is by taking risks. (To the parents who may be reading this, we aren’t talking about getting a tattoo or jumping out of an airplane.) The difference between people whom we read about in the history books and those whom we’ve never heard of is likely that the latter took the initiative to do hard things while everyone else stayed at home. So how can young Christian musicians take risks in 2020? We’re glad you asked.
Get Away From Exclusively Learning Covers
When you’re just starting out as a musician, one of the easiest ways to learn how to play is by covering known music. “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” are two perfect examples of easy songs you’d learn when just starting out. Eventually, you’ll move on to bigger and better songs. As great as it is to build a library of popular music for your repertoire, young Christian musicians should take risks in 2020 by moving past this stage. The best way to cement who you are as a musician is by creating your own works. It doesn’t matter what instrument you play or how well you do so, try your hand at songwriting this year.
Learn Another Instrument
Maybe you’ve already mastered one instrument. Good for you! Why not try to mix things up by picking up another? If you’re looking to make a living as a musician, you’ll have a more desirable set of skills as someone who can play multiple parts in the band. Although you may feel like you’re on solid footing as a drummer, saxophonist, or singer, take a risk this year by adding another instrument to your skillset.
Share Your Music with Others
As a young person, one of the scariest things you can do is open yourself up to others and show them what you’re passionate about. “What if they don’t like what I have to offer? What if I’m not good enough?” These are serious questions in the minds of young Christian musicians, we know. Let this be the year you have the courage to share your music with the world. Start slowly, if you want, by picking close friends and family. Eventually you’ll be ready to show the world what you’ve got.
Go Deeper Than a Cookie Cutter Christianity
If you live in North America, you know how easy it can be to settle into a comfortable Christianity. You go to church on Sundays, maybe read the latest religious bestseller, and do a little volunteering here and there. While that’s certainly a start, why not aim for something a little more in-depth and life-defining? If you really believe what you say you do, jump in headfirst and surround yourself with the things of God. Have a daily quiet time, find someone who can disciple you, get involved with your church on more than one day of the week. You will never have more free time in your life than the years between middle school and your 30th birthday. Why not establish a solid base for what you believe? Besides, your faith can play an important role in your music as well.
Invest in Your Learning Experience
Another way young Christian musicians can get serious in the coming year is by investing in their learning experiences. Have you been self-taught for years? Now may be the time to find a personal instructor. YouTube videos and blog posts can only go so far. Having the individual attention of someone who knows what it takes to succeed can be so much more helpful. Other ways you can invest in your learning experience is by looking into camps, college programs, and other institutions engineered to create talent and discipline.
Record Yourself (Professional or DIY)
Wouldn’t it be great if you could listen to and watch yourself playing in real time to find out what you need to work on? It may sound strange and uncomfortable, but recording yourself can point out flaws you never would have otherwise discovered. Now, a related challenge you could take on this year is trying to record an EP. Whether you’re a singer, part of a band, or just a solo player, making a record of any kind will help you draw in a fanbase and let people in the industry know what you have to offer. Whichever reason is more appropriate for you, take a risk this year by recording your music with video or audio.
Draw Your Music From Your Identity
Have you been playing it safe with your music? Hiding behind covers that are decades old and original music that is bland enough for everyone to find agreeable is a way to make yourself boring as an artist. We live in a period of American history where identity is viewed as the highest priority. While young Christian musicians should always value the kingdom of God over self, we can let our identity influence our music in several ways. From the lyrics you write to the sound of your music, let your personal identity influence who you are as a musician.
Find a Mentor and/or Build Relationships with Other Young Christian Musicians
We hate to be the ones who have to break it to you, but you can’t do it all on your own. The journey from beginner to expert, amatuer to professional, is best navigated by having the right connections and a clear head. A mentor is someone (preferably) older with more experience who can guide you as a musician and a human being. Young Christian musicians may be able to find a mentor at church, but this person doesn’t have to come from there. In addition to having a mentor, musicians need to build relationships with other music makers. These connections can help you grow in your skills and open up opportunities for work in the future.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Big Questions
Taking risks often means asking questions that are big and tough to answer. They may be self-reflective (“Do I have what it takes to play music professionally?”) or those pertaining to the music you’re making (“What hopes and fears do I have that could be expressed in my work?”). Thinking through the big questions in life can strengthen your faith and prepare you for the hardships of life. The reason why it’s considered “risky” is because the answers can be thoroughly challenging.
If they’re looking to shake things up this year, young Christian musicians should be willing to take risks like the ones listed above. There’s nothing wrong with playing it safe if music is just a little hobby, but if you want to do anything worthwhile with it, it’s time to take a risk.
One way to invest in your musical education this year is by attending a program like Camp Electric. We bring in musicians from today’s biggest Christian bands to teach hundreds of students all about what it means to be a Christian musician. Learn how young Christian musicians ages 13-19 can join us for engaging classroom sessions, informative workshops, and more by clicking on the link below.