Making and performing music seriously is something bound to leave a person with some sort of emotional baggage at some point. The frequency and severity of disappointments an average musician routinely faces on the path towards making something meaningful happen with their music is so significant that it causes most songwriters to throw in the towel eventually, even if they’re capable of making great music. But letting go of emotional pain and learning how to not take your frustrations out on your audiences is paramount in helping you to become a successful musician, and the idea of giving your audience a clean slate during live performances is especially crucial. Here’s why:
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.
Every serious musician knows that touring comes with its fair share of challenges, but that nebulous space of time between when a band arrives at the venue and when they begin their set is one of the less talked about hassles of being on the road all the time. If your drive between shows is short, you could be spending anywhere from 4-8 hours a day waiting for your show to start. With that amount of time at stake, it’s important to get the most out of your days on tour. Here are a few suggestions:
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.
When it comes to getting in front of your fans and making them feel valued, social media is the next best thing to face-to-face interactions. It’s your opportunity to connect with your fans in a way that is 100% real, raw, and candid. While that might seem scary at first, the reality is that the more vulnerability you show your fans, the more you’ll find they connect with you.
People just want to feel understood and they’re naturally attracted to those that express the same struggles, joys, and feelings they do—so the more you’re able to show that on your social media, the stronger the connection.
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.