If you’re good at waiting for things, music just might be the career for you. Whether it’s the thought of a young band breaking out after playing together for just a few months or the unprecedented access to a constant stream of new music delivered via playlist, patience is a profoundly impactful asset not nearly associated with music as much as it should be.
If you’ve been playing music seriously for a while, you’ve probably seen it all as far as big cities go. While lots of people think America’s music is purely confined to large coastal cities and nowhere else in between, there’s a ton of great cities for music scattered across the country. Here are four great US tour stops you might’ve missed.
No matter who you are and what sort of music you make, learning basic music theory is something that can absolutely change the way you think about songwriting for the better. Sheer songwriting talent, solid instruments, and compositional technology can certainly help you write great music, but nothing can replace music theory knowledge as being the best tool for explaining what music literally is and how it works. Rather than explain what basic music theory is––I already did that in a two-part series you can read here––in this article, I’m making the case for why every songwriter should take the time to master music theory basics.
It isn’t fair for everyone, but most of the world is designed for people who wake up early. Music, however, is a completely different story. Music is rare in the fact that the industry surrounding it is mostly suited for people who stay up late. Besides the service industry, most every other occupation requires its employees to show up at or before 9AM. This means that music can be both a bastion for night owls and a significant challenge for musicians accustomed to sleep schedules that align with more conventional industries.
Having musical talent and intuition is good, but if you really want to succeed in music, you’ll need much more than that. Whether it’s the discipline it takes to spend hours at a time practicing an instrument or the planning and communication skills needed to book shows and pitch new music to press outlets, sheer talent isn’t enough to make it in music––especially in today’s DIY-driven industry. If you want to find success in music, you might want to try thinking about it like your job.
Part of being an emerging band is learning as you go. When you look at it this way, making mistakes along the way is perfectly natural. But imagine if you could save yourself the trouble of certain obstacles—wouldn’t that be kind of great?
Having been in the industry for nearly a decade as both a writer and a publicist, not to mention my almost 30 years on this earth as a music fan, I tend to see artists make the same mistakes. The good news is, because the mistakes tend to be the same, they’re a bit easier to mass diagnose, meaning once you know what they are, you can work to avoid them. So what are some of the biggest mistakes I see emerging bands make?
Most musicians know that rejection is part and parcel of working creatively in any medium, but that doesn’t make the sting any less discouraging when things don’t go your way. Whether it’s being turned down for a show or releasing music that listeners don’t seem to resonate with, some artists experience rejection so acute and devastating that it causes them to stop making music altogether. But while nothing can remove the pain a musician feels when things don’t go the way they’d hoped, all creatives can––eventually must––use rejection as a tool for success and artistic survival.
For some reason, the idea that music should be completely separated from money is one that just won’t die within our culture. Some musicians and fans alike hold the belief that music somehow loses its purity once it begins earning someone money. But while that idea is obviously wrong, it’s one that manages to persist and thwart the careers of lots of talented artists. Here’s why all musicians should be invested in making money off of their hard work: