For all emerging musicians, succeeding in the music industry is easier said than done. It can sometimes feel like everyone around you is telling you why you won’t succeed, rather than why you will.
Succeeding in the music industry is all about forging your own path and finding out what makes you different from everyone else. It’s about standing out from the crowd and working hard to discover unique opportunities that will constantly push you beyond your boundaries. In saying this, we have developed our top five career tips for emerging musicians. These career tips will help to instil good habits early, bringing you one step closer to a finding a job in the music industry.
1. Prepare to be versatile
When you’re just starting out as a paid emerging musician, revenue can often come from different streams. In order to make ends meet, you will need to be versatile and adaptable when accepting the jobs that come your way. It may be writing a song, playing a wedding gig, helping to organise a concert or offering music lessons. Either way, all of these are worthwhile as you are making strong industry connections and moving in the right circles.
Completing tasks that fall under the music industry umbrella can not only help you to meet like-minded people, but it can also help you see where your other interests may lie. Who knows, maybe you have had a knack for something you never knew existed. Either way, as long as you are visible to those working within the industry, this will help you towards a successful career in music.
Music is an industry based on relationships. The quality and quantity of connections emerging musicians form can only help to benefit them in the future. Try to develop creative projects with fellow musicians, constantly working to get your name out there. There is strength in numbers and finding the right people is just a matter of trial and error. If you’re interested in the business side of music, try interning or gaining some work experience at a company that you aspire to work for. Constantly talking to people and getting your name out there can really help your personal brand and get your career in music moving forward.
3. Know your instrument inside and out
No matter what your instrument is: the piano, guitar, your voice, or even a loop pedal, you must worship at its feet. Take lessons, challenge yourself beyond your limitations and perfect your technique. If you understand your instrument inside and out, you can really push the boundaries of your sound. This will also allow you to anticipate everything that will occur, helping you to remain on top of your game and stand out from your competition.
4. Play live as much as you can
You can always tell the difference between musicians who are doing it for the money, and those who are in it for the music. A dedicated emerging musician will often play live as much as they can, whether they are paid for it or not. If you realistically think that you can make a living off your music alone for the first three to four years, you may be headed down a road of disappointment. Play live as often as you can: on the streets, community events, schools, churches, festivals. Play to improve your skills and refine your technique, establishing a network of supporters. This way, the paid gigs will increase as more and more people show up to your shows.
5. Constantly work to improve
At the end of the day, your music career path will be unique to you and you only. Following your career as an emerging musician should feel natural and organic to your personality. While you shouldn’t feel as if you are compromising a part of yourself to get into the industry, no one got anywhere without doing the hard work.
Constantly work to improve and refine your skills, no matter how successful you may feel. Take some extra lessons, research some TAFE courses, go back and study– there are always things you can do to improve and build on your talent. As cliché as it sounds, the key is to believe in yourself and continue to persevere beyond your expectations.
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