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Stealing Vs. Sharing

Last week a reader and pianist Ken wrote me some great tips about how to improve my rhythm, including using a DAW to check for timing errors. It really worked- I messed around with it in the studio, and noticed some areas I could improve. I told a few other musicians about it, and they’re all using the method now, too (don’t worry, I’ll share my thoughts on it in a blog when I get better at it). 


There’s a fine line between stealing and sharing. Good (and bad) ideas are sticky, and we tend to share them easily. We’d never charge for them, because they’re not ours. 


Insecure musicians are obsessed with people stealing their ideas. They’re worried that if they share their tricks, techniques, and contacts with others, we’ll figure out what the secret is and leave them behind. 


What insecure musicians miss is that almost all ideas are really, really hard to actually steal. 


It’s not the idea itself that makes something possible, it’s the massive amount of work, grit, and practice that creates something beautiful and marketable from a theory. Ideas lend themselves well to sharing because the more ideas you give, the more likely you are to receive ideas. 


If you are worried about someone stealing your trade secrets, perhaps you should give them all away. You might be surprised what amazing things people will give back.


(Note: I am not advocating that you shouldn’t charge for your work, time, or teaching. Part of giving away your ideas may include you making a lot of money through educating others. The important part is not how you give away your ideas, but that you share them and practice receiving ideas from others). 

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