As this subject comes up a lot during music business seminars, I thought I’d blog on it. So let’s take a look at this:
First it takes some courage! Yes courage to choose a profession notorious for its up and downs, rejections and long road and with no guarantees! I remember when I came to my crossroads - get a regular steady job or go for it as a pro musician. For me it was easy as my passion for music and dislike for most everything else made it a simple decision. But I had many around me, family and friends, constantly warning me about this choice and that I needed to have something to fall back on. But the more they warned me, the more I knew this was my choice.
The next ingredient is persistence; persistence to study and practice as much as it takes to become proficient on your instrument of choice in order to compete in the marketplace because after all……it’s all about your word of mouth. It also takes persistence to keep on going no matter what. Giving up is not an option. The goal is the top of Mt Everest and the conviction is the summit or die in the assault!
Next would be personal integrity which translates to being willing to be yourself, to play the notes YOU want to play and play them well and with confidence and intention. Sounds simple but not so easy to do yet therein lies the way for you to communicate YOUR inner self and that's what people really want you to do, trust me. Don't ever deny yourself; only YOU can deliver your message. Once you achieve this ability - to play honest notes - you are already successful! The rest will follow and simply takes competence and persistence!
The next and probably most important of all is the giving of more than expected! Yes that’s right – ALWAYS give more than expected and what was paid for as that’s what gives you great word of mouth, great PR. That’s how you get “call backs” and references. Success in the entertainment industry is a) being referred to a gig and than b) delivering the goods way beyond what was expected – home run! You’re on your way!
Re: Delivering the goods: This demands competence on your instrument and your ability to communicate effortlessly to an audience. You should spend a considerable amount of quality time practicing the fundamentals of your instrument whether it’s a music school, private instruction or self study or all of the above. In this stressful economy it’s even more important that you have the competitive edge so don’t skimp on your training. There’s still plenty of work for those who can really play and are willing to communicate.
Here are some tips for your success:
1. Always envision the ideal scene - your dream as accomplished. This means whatever you want to achieve, imagine it as already done and achieved in your universe until it is actually done in the physical universe.
2. Make sure you’re on purpose as an artist meaning you’re doing what YOU want to do. Passion is everything and if you’re not doing exactly what you want, how can you expect to have any passion? Audiences aren't stupid; they know sincerity and passion. Example: if your passion is progressive jazz fusion than that's what you practice and play and promote for. Never consult with anyone regarding YOUR purpose other than yourself! Anybody or anything that gets in your way should be politely ignored and/or removed as the case may warrant. Once you achieve what you wanted in an area, keep doing those things that got you there and/or move on to a new game or area.
3. Be very product and service oriented meaning finish to professional competitive industry standards all products - CD's, videos, DVD's, music instruction manuals, performances etc. The key thing here is finish so it can be released and exchanged with the public. (A CD idea in one's head is not a valuable final product. You must confront the time and money and production barriers and finish the bloody thing! Waiting for that illusive record deal is totally being a victim. Wait for no one and depend on no one!) Professional industry standards mean how does it stand up to the standard that's currently selling or has been exchanged in the past? One has to be brutally honest here, doesn't one? If one is a singer and sings a little out of tune, then one handles this; if one is a drummer and one's time is weak, well get it handled. Promoting a weak product and/or service doesn't work. When and if it does, it eventually fails anyway and besides, pride and accomplishment and work ethic apply here - that's what a pro is.
4. Always try and make your products and services a knock out so they produce an incredible effect on your audience and thus get great word of mouth. Always try and go that extra mile and give way more than what might be expected.
5. Do lots of personal research in order to develop the correct business relationships to promote your products and services to. Personal research means - contacting those who might be able to help in some way, surfing the internet, reading the trade magazines, going to concerts/clubs, jamming with others; in other words pay attention to your particular zone. Hoping someone will contact you doesn't work. You must flow inordinate amounts of energy outwards for that to occur. Also, you must do it because you want to... not only for the money and/or fame. That's why number two above is so so important.
6. There should be no such thing as giving up! Just keep on delivering your products and services until the tea kettle whistles. If it doesn't whistle (rejection), never let it affect you for very long; never stop practicing and creating, never. Simply get even more determined and refine your products and services even further until it does.
7. Always keep in communication with your developed personal and business relationships and flow them back the energy they flowed you when they need it... this includes your fans!!!
Here’s to your success!!!