Mainly coming from reading this book recently, here are some guidelines for the aspiring jazz/improvising musician. I think my intended audience here is really musicians who aspire to have something to do with jazz and it's tradition. I'm also not intended to get up on the soapbox, these lists are more a compilations of things I've learnt in the short time I spend taking improvised music seriously....
Do not get into this if:
- You don't feel like doing a lot of work, for a long time
- You expect to become famous
- You think wealth gives meaning to life
- You are not resilient
- You take things personally
- You think some people are born with 'it' and some aren't
- You are concerned primarily with image and fashion
- playing music is about playing things correctly, or 'well', or even, how you expect it to be
In my experience talking to improvising, creative musicians who have been creating for what seems like a significant amount of time, they have most, if not all, of the opposite of these traits in place, to varying degrees.
If you haven't read Shenk's book, I highly recommend it. If you are at all interested in doing something well, and better than well, it offers a variety of studies and guidelines for the aspiring 'genius'.