One of the goals of being a music teacher is getting students to become musicians. At 54, I am a “Professional Musician”. I am a musician first and make money second. The question is: what is a musician? In my mind a “musician” is a person who has dedicated a portion of their daily life to music. So, what does it take to become a “musician” as apposed to a “player”.
I think the first step is to become musically literate. You should listen to all types of music. Have you ever been moved to tears by a performance? Think about that for a minute. The goal as a performer is to “emotionally move” people. People who are moved by your performance remember you, creating possible opportunities for you in the future. If we are trying to connect to other people's souls through music, how could you do that if you haven’t made that connection before? You should listen to a variety of music until you find the music that touches your soul.
Learning to be a musician is a lifestyle. That means that you need to do something musical on a daily basis. The first thing you should do is to make sure that you practice daily. Actively listen to music. Study with someone who has the skills that you desire. How’s your technique? Practicing isn’t playing through the music the same way hoping that it gets better. It’s about finding and isolating problems to be worked out. If they are technical problems, then you improve those through slow to fast repetition. The ‘musical line” improves by education as stated above and your ability to become vulnerable to the music.
Gary Guth is a professional bagpiper with over 45 years of playing experience and has been teaching bagpipes full time for the last 20 years. He has written "Bagpipes For Beginners", "the Bagpipe Hymnal", and " A Piper's Christmas".