If you or your student or anyone else you know is considering music as a profession, there are a number of good websites that give solid advice. Some are geared more to rock/pop/indie music; some are applicable to pretty much anything.
We’re all assuming there’s a certain amount of talent present, defined at MusicanWages.com as “a mix of natural aptitude, exhaustive training and years of practice that, when looked at objectively, distinguishes a musician as an expert.”
We’re all aware, however, that it takes a whole lot more than talent to succeed as a musician. It’s hard to accept this, but there comes a point where, as talent increases, luck is more important. As the general population in any one area (music, sports, business…) increases in talent and skill and knowledge, that of the individual is harder to distinguish.*
So what to do?
1. Punctuality. Being late isn’t cool – it’s unprofessional. If you’re always late, word will get out.
2. Sight-Reading. Musicians who can sight-read can save employers time (and money) if a song gets substituted at the last minutes. Sight-reading also deepens your knowledge of music and theory, plus it gives you an edge on your competition.
3. Sociability. Don’t be a jerk. You can be replaced.
4. Consistency. Make sure people who hire you always see you as positive and upbeat.
5. Flexibility …roll with the changes.
“If you’ve done everything you can to put yourself in a position to succeed, you should accept whatever results appear. Some days you’ll be lucky, and the results will exceed your expectations. Some days the results will be disappointing because of bad luck. The best plan will be to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get ready to do it again tomorrow.“*
Robert Oliver, author of the Sketchbook blog, consistently posts excellent articles and advice about the industry. Check out his blog.
*Michael Mauboissin, The Paradox of Skill at changethis.com. (Thank you, Dave)
Image: I Like Pianos
- Sight reading (sethgodin.typepad.com)
- Sight-reading – you know you love it……Three tips to have you sight-reading like a legend! (classicalguitarnstuff.com)
- Five Traits of a Professional Musician (MusicianWages.com)