Playing a grand total of 13 instruments, ranging from brass, to voice, to strings, Songplistic's own Kayla-Megan Burns talks about their journey of finding their focus in music.
Starting in music at the fine age of 6, the only focus that I had was the intent to become a rock star - it was to my absolute horror when I was then handed a half size acoustic guitar and taught how to play "what do you do with the drunken sailor". It was not very rock star.
Since then I have accumulated more instruments than I have enough hours in the day to practice, although regardless of this fact I still found it hard to narrow down my focus to a more manageable number of instruments. For each instrument I had particular favourite styles and genres - from Samba on trumpet, to rock and indie on guitar and drums, and anything that I could belt out while singing! Each of these lent themselves to different settings for playing in as well, and I had just too much passion for each of them to be able to make a definitive decision on what my specific niche was. In groups, this would often make me feel insecure, as this is something which seemed to be so instinctive to other players and yet I didn't have a grip on it.
After years of trying to find this focus however, only recently did I realise that by trying to fit into a specific niche, I was restricting myself in music and holding myself back from learning and growing as a musician in an attempt to fit in. The pursuit of perfection had gotten in the way of improvement, as often the fear of getting something wrong had stopped me from putting myself out there and giving my whole self over to trying - as it's only through this vulnerability that we can really develop ourselves and grow as musicians.
So after all of this time, I am yet to find my full focus in music, but instead have now dedicated myself to growing and giving my all to putting myself out there and learning through my vulnerability instead. In much less time this has been much more fruitful for me, as rather than looking for what I "should" be doing, I am constantly looking for progress and improvement.
The culture in the music scene can often be hyper-critical depending on what circles you are in, and although this might push some to learn more and work harder, it can often be a real part of what holds back musicians and stops them from giving their best. So whether you are the musician looking for their niche or their focus, or perhaps you know one. Changing that framing and that culture can be a real key to unlocking much more progress, but also much more joy from music - which is definitely something we can all get behind.
Kayla is a co-founder of Songplistic as well as a member of the Songplistic Session Band.