Sunday, February 17, 2013

Why We Must Learn, to Grow

A Wise, Learned Musician. Mark Baldwin
"If you have found wisdom, there is a prospect, and your hope will not be cut off.” - Proverbs 24:14

Are you learning? Are you growing? Are you doing everything you can with the creative gift that God has give you?

I mean right now? (Well, hopefully you are because you’re reading this blog right? ;) But elsewhere in your life are you consciously working on growing the knowledge and ability you have about what you want to do creatively?

If you are a creative artist, are you constantly reading every book, magazine, web site, and blog you can find to increase what you know about how to get started as an artist, release your work to the world, market yourself effectively, and what those who are finding success do?

Or are you waiting for someone to realize your star potential, and your big break comes along…by magic?

If you are a musician, are you working with a great teacher, or other top musicians, reading the trades of your craft, and seeking new ways to be innovative and original on your instrument?

Or are you jamming with friends on occasion because it feels good and waiting until you are discovered…by magic?

If you are a songwriter or author, are you writing as much as you can? Are you working hard to find ways to get your work read, heard and critiqued so you can take that feedback and get better? Are you reading articles, books, magazines, and web sites to find out how people who write get better?

Or are you writing songs and books, showing them to your dog, and waiting for that publishing deal to come along…by magic?

Don’t get mad at me, but I am purposely pushing your buttons. Why? Because likely, you have no one to push them where you are. I know, because I was once where you are. I was once a songwriter/musician/artist/author (kind of in that order), and there was no one to “make” me get better.

Thankfully there has always been something in me that drives me to hunt down, kill, and drag home any info I can find on what interests me. I spend a lot of time at bookstores, libraries, and online, finding the book, magazine, or piece of info I need, and then I voraciously absorb it.

Perhaps you are not built that way, but guess what? You might better learn to be.

“Of all human pursuits the pursuit of wisdom is the most perfect, the most sublime, the most profitable, the most delightful.” - St. Thomas Aquinas

Did you catch that? The most profitable. Yeah, that was in there, and I believe there is a reason. Smart people who know their craft and business succeed.

I work everyday with veterans of the Christian music industry here in Nashville. One of these is guitarist/vocalist/producer Mark Baldwin. He’s played for everyone from Amy Grant to Stevie Wonder, from Steven Curtis Chapman to Sara Bareilles, from Michael W. Smith to Whitney Houston.

Quite a career. But how did he get there?

Was he discovered in a bar playing country rock songs with some dudes? Was his profile found on Reverbnation? Was he a finalist on Guitar Idol?

No, first Mark took classical guitar lessons in junior high, then toured Japan with a trio in high school. He then attended Berklee School of Music (NOT the online courses!) in Boston. After that, he toured with the Christian group Glad, and then moved to Nashville to tour for Amy Grant and also The Imperials.

And so now, 20-25 years later, is Mark sitting on a beach somewhere sipping an icy beverage and counting his fortune? Nope, he is still working every day to figure out the best new piece of gear, continuing to hone his skills next to the other top players in the business, and learning new skills.

We are wise when we get older, because we have learned along the way, and the harder we work to learn along the way, the wiser we are.

“Anything you say to the wise will make them wiser.” - Proverbs 9:9

“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” - Anthony J. D'Angelo

Have a great week!

Eric Copeland is a producer, composer, author, and serial learner. Seriously, he is addicted to knowledge. It's really a problem. But it's helped him develop and grow Creative Soul, a unique business that serves Christian music artists, ministries, and songwriters. Find out more at

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Eric Copeland is an author, producer, keyboardist, songwriter, and president of Creative Soul Companies. What is Creative Soul? Our main goals are to inform, encourage, and assist Christian creative folks in ministry, no matter where they are in their journey. Thanks for reading! Find out more about us at