In the Matrix Neo and Morpheus talk about the “residual self image”, which (in the story) is a person’s own internal picture of themselves. Morpheus explains to Neo this residual self image is why Neo sees himself as he sees himself while in the Matrix – the picture Neo has of himself in his mind. You, as a musician, have a residual self image of your music, a “residual musical image” of how one should play, and how one should sound, the correct timbre of your voice or instrument, of the number and type of licks and ornaments adlibbing should have, of many or few articulations, or dynamics – you have a picture inside of you of every aspect possible in music. Of course, some of those pictures are blank (you haven’t a clue), some are vague, some are wrong. But you judge your success or failure in the many areas of music based on this residual musical image. This image is based on all the music you’ve listened to and liked, and paid attention to. This image is like a big pot where you’ve dumped all that music and it’s what you internally refer to as to what you should be doing. Now my point here is that you can change that image by what you listen to. If you want more “soul” in your sound, or you want to add more licks to your singing, listen to music and people that do this. If you want a rougher timbre, or smoother one, listen to people and music that have these sounds. It’ll get dumped in the “residual musical image” pot inside you and you will slowly start moving towards that new image, that new standard inside of you. This includes EXCELLENCE, SPEED, and ACCURACY. Listen to the musicians you want to become and you will move towards them despite yourself.
Focus on a different facet of music each week: dynamics, range, timbre, articulation, accuracy, flow. Concentrate on it to internalize it.