So...What Is "Artist Development" Anyway?

Friday, April 28, 2017 by Jake Hahn | self development



So what is "Artist Development" anyway? 



I see a lot of people talking about it, and when I begin to dig into most of their information and potential guidance I find that the majority mainly focus on music business strategies - and when it comes to the personal development areas, they focus most of their attention and energy on the technical side of things.


I don't think these people are "wrong" - I just think they're missing some crucial elements by making those 2 areas paramount.


Great expression and artistry most definitely ride on some solid technique. Technique is sort of assumed by listeners. If someone comes out to watch you play guitar or sing some songs - there's an innate belief in them that you have the skills to play and sing those songs.


What I mean here is that technique is a must. That doesn't mean you have to be a "virtuoso" or "prodigy" or "talented", it means that you have to have acquired enough technical prowess to execute for your personal artistic style and level of expression.


Simply put...

If your technique allows you to express yourself fully - then you are good to go.


In my eyes, the music business aspect isn't really "art" at all. The business side is basically numbers, advertising, marketing, meeting people, right place/right time, connections etc (that doesn't mean it's easy by any means). You could argue that there is an art to all of that, and I wouldn't really disagree. It definitely plays a roll in your music career (how much money you can make or fame you acquire).


Again - it's a part of your overarching life as a musician, but it isn't your personal artistry.



To me, Artist Development means finding who you are as a person. Your genuine, authentic, honest, real self - then learning how and what it is that you feel you want to express and communicate to others - as well as WHY you want to.


When you find those things inside yourself, you tap into what I consider to be one of the most valuable feelings. The feeling of being compelled. When you are compelled, you act from a deeply seeded place within you. You are internally driven toward all those other external factors (such as business and technical abilities).


When you discover and hone these things, you begin to realize and believe that you have something truly worth sharing with the world, and most importantly, when you act from this position you are practicing internal validation! You're not creating things to please others - you're creating things to please yourself. When you do this, you'll find that there are others who can RELATE to you and your art.



When other people relate to you, they feel a closeness to you. A sometimes speechless emotional connection. All because you told your truth in a sincere and authentic way with no initial desire or focus on "pleasing the crowd".


This truth brings something real to people. You're not selling them something - you're sharing something with them.


The moment you take this stance, you liberate yourself. You become free to simply be a human being openly sharing the highlights and lowlights of life itself with other human beings who can appreciate it.

....


Your art is needed by someone. 

You are needed by someone.  


So...all of this begs the question: If you are the artist...wouldn't that mean that "Artist Development" is actually "Self Development?

I believe it does - and I believe that this shift in mindset and how you perceive yourself is crucial.

So - place your focus on developing yourself...then, use art to share yourself with those who care to listen.


- jake

How To Make Your Playing Effortless

Tuesday, December 6, 2016 by Jake Hahn | self development

If you've ever studied with me - you know how I integrate psychology and neuro-scientific concepts into learning and training. I like to give answers to questions that are real, and tangible.

So...

What is the real reason for practice?

The purpose of practice is to create a path in the brain (neuro-pathway). Just like a path worn into the ground where we walk.

The more that path is taken - the easier it is to walk on.

The more you practice a particular thing - the easier it becomes for you to play.

When this happens, it becomes subconscious. The action becomes a behavior that you no longer need to focus your conscious attention upon.

When you "bury" any action into the subconscious mind, it frees up some space in the conscious mind to begin placing your attention on new ideas and techniques.

When this cycle is repeated enough over time - you end accumulating deep seeded subconscious skills.

That's when you'll hear people say things like "you make that look so easy...".

At that point it IS easy for you. It's become a behavior. A habit.

You've done this (most-likely) unknowingly your entire life. For example: you don't have to consciously think about how to brush your teeth anymore - it's ingrained.

Make this concept part of your awareness, and you'll start to see how new musical (and life) skills are accumulated over time.

Make new skills a part of your behavior, and allow your playing to come from a truly emotional place rather than only a technical one.


- jake

How To Create Yourself

Tuesday, July 26, 2016 by Jake Hahn | self development

“People often say that this person or that person has not yet found themselves.  But the self is not something that one finds.  It is something that one creates,” 

 - Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz.


 "When you think about yourself, you tend to think in a certain way about your skills, strengths and talents.  You narrowly define yourself, meaning you live life from a certain way of thinking and being, which limits your experiences.  

You can re-create yourself at anytime and choose to define yourself in other ways. Explore new ways of thinking and being, and you may discover that you have talents and passions you never knew existed."

~excerpt from a brand new course I've been working on for the passed few years.~ P.O.S.E*


Our mental programming controls our life

We always do what we see ourselves doing in our mind, not what we know how to do.

I bet that at this very moment you know how to improve your skill on a guitar, you know how to get in better shape, you know how to do your job better, you know how to be more productive, you know how to have better relationships, you know how to improve your results – but you don’t do it.

Why? Because it doesn’t feel like you, right? It doesn’t fit the way you see yourself in your mind. Your self image always corresponds with your results

It's all about self-image

The power behind how we see ourselves, and how that translates out into the world affects our outcomes.

If you've spent time with me in a coaching session then you already know the importance I place on how you see yourself NOW...in this moment. Not off into the future.

Goal setting is great! Though without a deep-seeded core belief that you are the type of person who can achieve that goal...it's pointless. It'll never happen.

How you see yourself in this moment - and it's important to state - on an unconscious level (where habits and behaviors live) is who you are, as well as who you will become.

If you want to be a musician, actor, dancer, business-person, painter, Doctor, ice cream shop owner...whatever! You MUST begin by adjusting your self-image to match your vision!



How do you change your Self Image?

You do it through awareness and imagination.

Awareness is transformative in and of itself. The simple fact that you now know that your self image controls your life gives you the power to begin to change. From now on you’ll no longer identify yourself with every thought you get, and imagination is where you create your new life.

So how is this done? How do you take action and make the shift toward what you want?

Well, there are 2 ways that this can happen.


1. You experience a highly emotional event

A highly emotional event can impact us on a deep core level causing our mind to make a sudden shift based on the extreme emotion(s) involved. It can cut straight through - bypassing the conscious mind completely.

2. Repeat Exposure

Conscious repetition is what allows us to take a thought and begin to sort of "bury it" into the sub-conscious mind - where auto-behavior comes from. 


 A good example of Repeat Exposure would be: it's been shown that if you are introduced to someone new and you repeat their name at least 6 times then your mind will think it must be important enough to store for the long term, and the odds of remembering that persons name are dramatically increased.

So how do you put it into action?

Create 2 verbal phrases for Repeat Exposure. Here's a starting point. Finish each of these phrases with what you feel is in line with who you want to be.

1. I am now...

2. I am so happy that...

Once you've created your phrases (in the present moment) repeat each one aloud with some emotion behind it 6 to 8 times. 

Do this daily! Maybe right after you wake up in the morning and/or before bed each night. It doesn't take long, and in time, the benefits will amaze you.

This isn't about "positive thinking" - it's about pointing your deeper thinking mind in the direction of your goal(s) and vision(s) of the person you desire to be.

Create yourself!

- jake 

*The (P.O.S.E) course I'm creating will walk you through all the details step by step. 

I'm extremely excited to present it when it's done! I know it will be of great value and something that I'm very proud of. 

If you'd like to be updated on its release, you can stay in touch by joining the mailing list!



How Do You Know?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 by Jake Hahn | self development

I did a little experiment.

Starting around the beginning of May I took down some very specific notes across all of my current clients. Ranging in age from 7 to 72 years old. From guitar students to my full on life coaching clients. While everyone is different, and there are countless possibilities for eliciting change in a person, one thing continually popped up in our sessions.

No measuring stick.

The problem wasn't that people didn't know what they wanted or where they wanted to go (although in some cases this was quite true) it was more about them not knowing whether or not they were actually getting there.

As a coach I use a 5 step process with a 9 step sub-process to help people make positive and measurable change toward their target(s). 

For example: What happens when you're sitting at home alone about to practice your instrument with no guidance? No outside perspective? No one to point out when you've done something "correctly" or when you may need to adjust?

You need an internal compass of sorts.

So the question to ask yourself is - "How will I know when I have it?"

This is what I call an "evidence procedure".

You need a way or a "model" to gauge your progress. 


Think about your last practice session - or the last time you had a general goal in your life.

Did you make progress? Did you achieve your goal? HOW do you know? Was it a feeling? How did you choose to measure your outcome? Were your results real or were they just a vague feeling of some sort of accomplishment?


I'm suggesting that you approach your next practice session with the mindset of a detective. Look for evidence. Don't simply assume that because you sat down and "practiced" for an hour that you must have gotten better. That "shotgun" approach doesn't leave enough evidence behind.


If you're learning a new song but you can't currently play 3 of the chords that are crucial for that song, 

  • isolate one of those chords
  • repeat that chord by itself
  • put it into the context of the song

At the end of your practice session you can look back and observe that before you started you couldn't play that chord. Now, not only can you play that chord, you can also perform it as part of the overall song you're wanting to be able to play.


Measurable evidence that you just got better, and that particular practice session was well worth your time and energy.


What "evidence procedure" do YOU personally use?


Your friend and coach,

                                     Jake

How To Cultivate A Unique And Distinct Voice

Monday, December 28, 2015 by Jake Hahn | self development

 birdsinrow.jpg

Introduction

I take a seat. Lay back. Gently place my headphones on. Press play. What do I hear?

The strength and build up of a detuned distorted guitar with slight feedback letting me know that something is about to go down, and it's gonna be brutal. Followed by a truly angst-ridden vocal screech to match. Then comes the growly, hard hitting truth of the bass guitar in tandem with a chest exploding kick drum.

Next?

My skin covered in cold-chills, teeth clenched, and eyes welling up - all beyond my control.

A truly emotional reaction to what I feel as true emotional expression.

This - throughout the years - remains to be one of the single most amazing things that I've experienced.

 

What Is It - And How Can You Do It?

Simply put - it’s truth.

It’s paying attention to what matters to you. Taking mental (or even physical) notes on it, and putting it into words and sounds that are natural and connected to the emotion you’ve noticed.

4 Steps To To Cultivate Your Distinct Sound:

     1. Cultivate the freedom to sing differently.

  • You don’t sound like your favorite artist(s). Period. And that is a great thing. The reason your favorite artist(s) are your favorite(s) is because they sound like themselves. Listen to your own voice. record it. Listen back. Find the thing(s) that stand out to you as unique. Not the things that “sound good” to you, but the things that are distinct. Embrace them over time. This isn’t about what you want to be - it’s about who you are.

     2. Cultivate the freedom to interpret and tell your story.

  • How do you see thing? What’s your opinion? It’s all colored and shaped by your unique perspective. Your life experiences. How do you say things? Pay attention to that. What type of words do you use? Don’t change those things...embrace them.

     3. Cultivate the freedom to explore.

  • Get curious, then stay that way. Explore your artistry - quite literally. Imagine an exploration. Imagine the details of that exploration. Consider all things involved in it. If you were an archeologist on a dig - sometimes you’d use a shovel, and sometimes you’d use a dust-brush. Treat your artistry in the same fashion. Explore it.

     4. Cultivate the freedom to sing how you want to sing.

  • Bottom line: you will feel the most alive, expressive, sincere, and genuine when you just let it all go. Just be. Actively search for ways to allow yourself the freedom to let-it-rip. Notice your voice, but don’t judge it. Don’t listen to yourself all the time. Listen to your gut. Feel what you want to say. If you feel sad and distant...let your voice sound sad and distant. If you feel aggressive...let your voice burn (don’t hurt yourself:) What do you sound like when you are happy? What does your speaking voice feel like when you are lonely? Pay close attention to how you naturally react to emotion. Study some of your favorite actors and note some of these nuances - then find them in yourself.

 

Summary:

Freedom: “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.”

Let that soak in.

Own it.

Be it.

         - Jake

 

P.S. The song I was listening to? 

Use Your Head

Monday, December 7, 2015 by Jake Hahn | self development

Really cool video about what happens inside of us when we listen to music - or better yet - when we create music! Check it out!

3 Steps To Rockin' Any Stage

Friday, March 13, 2015 by Jake Hahn | self development

Be BOLD

In a live "performance" situation - show confidence - even if you have to fake it at first!

Confidence reflects a level of competence. When ya show one...the other is assumed.

More importantly - when you FEEL one - the other is FELT inside of YOU.

That point is CRUCIAL.

Because what you FEEL on the inside is what you SHOW on the outside!

...and in a "performance" situation that is EXACTLY what you want.

Competence & Confidence exist in a loop; and are always working together in our favor ?

So, go ahead! Start to work on one, and watch the other rise!

You have to CHOOSE, GATHER, and RIDE!

Here's how:


 

1. CHOOSE to generate confidence:

Simply decide to have it. Make it an intention. You don’t need to achieve anything more, you simply need to decide to feel and generate it.

2. GATHER more competence:

Gather more knowledge, skill, craft, and abilities in the areas that you are passionate about and need to perform well in.

3. RIDE the momentum:

You have to take action! Aim for progress NOT perfection. The more action you take the more progress you’ll sense. This is how momentum is generated!


 

Taking action and implementing these 3 steps into your daily life - with PURPOSE - will help you in making significant leaps forward in your ability to command ANY stage there is!

Because when you take command of yourself, the outside world no longer feels like an enemy.

You can rest assured that what you have to offer the world is worthy of sharing, worthy of support, and worthy of applause. ?

4 Reasons To: Tweak Your Attitude

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 by Jake Hahn | self development

Your attitude toward the things in your life makes all the difference in the world.

Consider the amount of focus and energy you bring to a practice session.

Think about the difference it makes in the quality of your experience!

You are not powerless! You can actually CHOOSE! You can DECIDE how you want to feel; and your level of energy is determined by your will to GENERATE it!

That's right! You GENERATE your attitude at any given moment in your day!

I stress this - because it plays such a POWERFUL role in the overall quality of your practice sessions!

If you supply yourself with the "right" mental attitude toward practice/learning before you begin, then you will experience MUCH greater benifits from it.

Such as...

GROWTH

FASTER progress

QUALITY results

DIRECTION

So check your attitude...

If it isn't an attitude of positivity, passion, and purpose... Change it!

Ask me how - HERE

Start NOW!

Frustrate Yourself Forward

Monday, March 9, 2015 by Jake Hahn | self development

Remember this - you'll never experience frustration when you're off by a long shot.

You only become frustrated when you are really close to achievement.

So the next time you're frustrated

DO NOT QUIT!!

Instead, use it as motivation to push even harder...

you're obviously almost there :)

How To Get Real: Thinking VS Doing

Friday, March 6, 2015 by Jake Hahn | self development

I pay attention to what people say. CLOSE attention.

But I pay even CLOSER attention to what people actually DO.

Let me explain what I mean...

I sometimes come across clients who - when presented with seemingly "basic" information - such as a standard chord progression using an open position G chord to an open position C chord (for guitar players) - have this to say to me...

"Oh, I already know those chords."

Implying that they're ready to move on.

They're ready for bigger and better things! More complex ideas!

They simply want... VARIETY!

BUT! Be aware -

VARIETY = NOVELTY = TEMPORARY EXCITMENT 

Put on the spot - most of the time they're unable to play those 2 "basic" chords in a musically interesting way. They tend to lack command of: Consistent strumming patterns, stamina, tone control, rhythmic dynamics, clean & clear notes, changing seamlessly from chord-to-chord, arpeggiation, and/or a firm grasp of the progression etc...

These are all things that musicians NEED to be able to do in order to make good sounding music happen!

Now...

These 3 ideas will be CRUCIAL for you: really consider them

1. Understanding something doesn't mean you've embodied it.

2. Knowledge isn't enough to actually make change happen.

3. Intellectual understanding does NOT equal physical/technical skill.

In short: THINKING vs DOING = TALK vs ACTION

This is where repeated physical repetition (ACTION) comes in, and why it's so important to know the difference between THINKING & DOING.

Consider this -

Amateurs practice until they get it right.

Professionals practice until they can't get it wrong.

This is a great way to gauge your overall skill level.

For example:

Consider how well you can actually perform a particular song.

• is it effortless?

• are you still having to think?

• does it still take concentration?

Remember this: for the listener - the technical skill of the artist is assumed.

As a listener - I don't really want to watch you think about what you're playing on a technical level.

I want authenticity.

I want to hear the story behind your lyrics. I want to feel how you feel. I want to be moved in some way.

So...really take a moment and consider these things:

Do you REALLY understand?

Can you actually PERFORM?

Do you OWN the technique?

Have you TRULY POLISHED your skill?

Do you REALLY have it down?

If you're gonna chase something new...if you're gonna chase NOVELTY...

Make sure you're chasing it ON PURPOSE!

Be honest with yourself. Live up to your potential. Don't assume that you're too advanced for fundamentals.

None of us are.