Anyhow, I want to talk to you about featuring myself as a testing musician. Since I think I know music and testing, they could have similar features.
Note to reader: When I say "song", I mean it as an activity. Let me explain. The song contains many elements to it and it would be difficult to say "I play guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, sing, growl, scream, etc." A song is not a thing per sé, but a sum of activities that are inherently combined. There wouldn't be a song without activities.
I play music - I test softwareI play music as professionally as possible. I might not be the top-notch of musicians at the moment, but I have my ambitions. Reality is what it is and I have just so much time left to be the best. I practice every day (at least every other day). I don't know every technique and I suck at some. Sometimes I fail at even the most simple stuff, but I don't stop. I play it until I get it right. Sometimes I need to "fake it until I make it", just to seem professional until I can be at that level. This means I need to practice twice as hard. My musical background isn't just playing, but all other aspects of music are equally important. Sometimes my focus is on learning, sometimes it's in playing, sometimes I compose.
I compose music - I plan my testingI plan my songs beforehand in a way that it is easier to implement than when the actual playing starts. Planning songs can be as detailed as I want. The most important thing is that the level of planning suits the purpose. When I'm in a group of talented musicians and everyone knows their s**t, the implementation of music is easier and might not require that much planning. Here's where my approach might differ from others': my style of music isn't the only style. My songs are usually progressive punk where brute force meets intricate note passages. That is why some aspects of my songs have detailed parts and some are exploring and learning the songs. It all depends on multiple factors: instruments, people involved, schedule, arrangement, mood, previous experiences, you name it. In essence, composing music depends on multiple things, and all you can do is to come as prepared as possible, but be open to change.
I learn new songs - I learn new techniquesI need to be better at composing and playing, so I must learn new songs all the time. This might mean I need to learn my own songs, my band's old songs, or songs from other musicians. I have quite a broad taste in music and it is nice to know some classics. It is also nice to know some newest stuff from bands I like. Listening to a song and trying to learn a song from only hearing it isn't my thing. I need to make notes (sic) or search for chords online, etc. By watching someone play the song and then watching it multiple times in slow motion also helps. What I'm trying to say is that not every song is the same and needs to be approached differently. A Frank Zappa song "Black Page" takes a bit more than just listening to it, but a Green Day "Basket Case" is from the other end of the spectrum. If I want to learn something, I do what needs to be done to learn it. Also, other musicians can help me when I'm stuck or need coaching.
I listen to music - I follow other testersJust like learning new songs, I listen to music just because I enjoy it. I hear new things happen in songs like the style of singing, rhythm figures, time signatures, you name it. And when I do, I might want to incorporate something similar to that into my songs or my style of play. One of my band's songs needed a bit of a kick so I borrowed a bass line from Flea from RHCP. One song I did had a 13 eights time signature at one point and the rhythm was inspired by a bolero song I heard from the radio. So I am inspired by songs and musicians AND I steal stuff. But when I steal, I try to promote the one I steal from. I am standing on the shoulders of giants to be where I am. Sometimes someone will hear my songs and steal from me - and I think it's a compliment.
I teach my songs to my bandmates - I coach testing to othersWhen I have heard or composed a song, I try to share it with my bandmates. These coaching sessions might spark new ideas for both of us. Sometimes teaching is pointing to a literary source or a YouTube video. Sometimes I hand them a music sheet I composed or something I played on tape beforehand. I might even sit next to them and play it myself to them and then have them try it. I teach in a way that resonates with both of us. The teaching might be for just one or the entire band, whatever suits the situation best. It is usually really difficult to convey a complex piece with moods, passages, arrangements, or the like. But you teach them the best you can. Usually, the result is that they come up with something I wouldn't have even thought of.
I play gigs - I speak at conferencesWhen I have worked hard to come up with ideas and songs, I want the world to hear them. I want to be on stage and perform. And I LOVE IT! I was born to be on stage. The thing is that you can't go on stage doubting yourself. You practice your songs, you practice performing (beard-moshing, stuff between songs, dance maneuvers) so you are nice to watch, you come up with material that people want to hear. Or not. Sometimes you need to be able to hop on stage with minimal preparation. And when it happens, you kneed to know your s**t! You practice even though you have no gig coming, you hone your skills all the time.
I record an album - I write about testingAt times I have something concrete enough to publish. Spending time and money to hone and produce something is satisfying. At this point you harness all your skills, all your time and effort spent composing music, all your time arranging music, all your confidence from gigs. The record is a picture of your devotion to the craft. It is your baby and you finally let the world marvel your creation. The produced piece can be small or gargantuan, but it's out there.
It's all in the context
One hard part of being a progressive-punk musician is that sometimes everything gets changed because something doesn't fit. I cannot prepare myself for every situation.
Here's an example: I have come up with a piece having listened to progressive metal, jazz, classical music, electronic disco music, spoken word poetry, and K-pop. I have made lyrics that are beautiful, meaningful, poetic to the point of tears with euphemisms. The time signatures and tempo changes make the song sound like it drives pure oxytocin into your heart. The 17 eigths and 3 fourths dance together with polyrhythms in Spanish gypsy scale playing with semitonal harmonics. I then record a demo at home with tears in my eyes and take the demo for the band. "Ummm... Yeah... No... How about we do 230 bpm 4 fourths with three chords. You can have a G# in the bridge, 'cuz you're such a prog-man. And then write some lyrics about the government or stuff."
You adapt to changes.
I am a musician and a tester. I am a better musician because I am a tester, and I am a better tester because I am a musician.