Thank You Notes: Why gratitude is essential for musicians

The most important thing I get from my relationship with the Creator is simply acknowledging that the music doesn’t come from me.

     –Marcus Miller, bassist, in a 2008 interview with Anil Prasad

Every time I write a beautiful song, it lets me know that God exists.

– Raheem DeVaughn, R&B recording artist

One thing every musician must learn quickly is the art of accepting compliments. Whether for a great performance, a song that touched their emotions, or any other reason, we musicians know the importance of saying ‘Thank You’ when our listeners show us appreciation.

However, our thankfulness goes deeper than our responses to those that compliment us.

It goes to the heart of why we create and perform.

When we play, we aren’t just creating new sounds, or devising interesting melodies. We are creating a tapestry of gratitude. Our work exists as a testament to the One that gave us the ability to create.

Every note we play is actually a thank you note.

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This is why most musicians generally deflect compliments. They understand that at the heart of the matter, the music doesn’t come from them. They recognize that their musical gift is a gift in every sense of the word. It isn’t something we can take credit for. The ultimate credit belongs to our Creator.

When we remember to remain grateful and humble as artists, our music can be a continuous reflection of our gratitude. In fact, the more grateful we are, the more productive we become.

Can an artist produce music while being prideful? Yes, but it’s simply misplaced pride. Eventually, every artist has to come face to face with his or her limitations. Inspiration can not be manufactured. If we want to remain inspired, we have to stay grounded and acknowledge the true Source of our artistry.

The key to creating great art is a humble and grateful spirit.

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