Pro-level skills for career-minded players, and serious amateurs. As a veteran of more than 2500 club gigs, four 40-minute sets per night, and numerous recording sessions, I know what skills are necessary in order to make it as a musician. It's all about the right preparation. The problem is, when you're leaning music, there are many unproductive avenues out there - unproductive because they don't make you any more prepared for performing or recording. There are many ways to waste time.
For aspiring pros and serious amateurs alike, it's important to have a realistic picture of what being a modern musician is all about. Students need to understand the working styles of modern professionals, where the music being created is non-notated. That is, it's music that isn't scored before it's played, and where individual musicians usually create their own parts. Sometimes they're expected to improvise their parts, mesh with the other musicians, and make it sound good.
Many musicians are dissatisfied with their first performance in front of an audience. You're likely to spend your first concert wishing you were better prepared - even if you play well. The 'lousy first gig' is a necessary experience, because only then can you truly understand what you're up against in the real world, in the heat of battle. The old-timers talk about how your not really a pro until you've 'paid your dues.' With the tools we have today, you don't have to school yourself playing 4-hour gigs five nights a week for five years, but 'paying your dues' speaks to the level of effort it takes. Much of that 'effort' is just grinding repetition. But if you're a career-minded musician, it's what you live for.
Another part of preparing for the stage is understanding how to play, and use your gear, in high-volume settings like live performances. It isn't the same as playing at home. For instance, you have to understand basic gain structure. Don't expect the tone settings that sound perfect at home to still sound good next to drums, bass, and another guitar. You have to fine tune your amp and effects settings at performances and rehearsals. I'll share with you all the things I've learned from playing 2500 rock and country gigs. Everything from hearing protection, guitar setup, and EQ settings, to how to get the most out of your band rehearsals, and being an effective contributing member of your band.
The studio is a world apart from the stage. Even in the age of non-destructive recording, you should strive to develop the skillset for recording to tape. Many younger players would have a difficult time recording to tape, if they ever had to. Learning to punch in and out is still an important basic skill, one that's usually lost on people who learn recording in a loop-based environment. Learning to decide in the moment whether to keep a part, or record over it with no 'undo,' is also a valuable ability.