Have you always wanted to become a professional musician and wondered what it takes to reach the top of the music industry? Are you frustrated working at your current job because it has nothing to do with music? I can relate because I was once in the exact same spot you are in!
First thing is first: you need to stop feeling sorry for yourself, get up and start taking action to become the professional musician you should be!
Get your music career going on the right track by following the same approach used by Olympic competitors who succeed on the highest platform in the world for their respective sports. If you have been keeping up with the events of the Olympics, you've seen how evenly matched the athletes seem to be from event to event. However, there are always winners and losers... no matter how good an athlete is, they will either get a medal or miss the podium altogether. The margin for error in these events is extremely thin - one athlete may miss out on a medal when they only performed 'slightly' underneath the level of another athlete (such as losing a race by fractions of a second, or failing to lift a weight for a single rep less).
For the athletes who come away with a medal, they gain massive popularity amongst their fans/countrymen and end up getting tons of opportunities to sign deals for endorsements or make big money in other ways. For the athletes who do not get a medal (for example, someone who misses getting 3rd place by 1/100 of a second in the 100 meter dash), they remain unknown to the general population and lose out on all the opportunities of those who place above them. This can cause them to feel a lot of frustration due to the amount of hard work and effort they put into their training only to come up with nothing.
Like these athletes, you have spent many years to work on your music career. You have very specific musical goals you would like to achieve through your efforts. You do not want to have spent all that time working to reach your music career goals only to end up with a career in some industry completely unrelated to music while others accomplish all the things you wanted to do for yourself. To avoid this worst case scenario, you have to take action to make yourself the absolute best musician for success in the industry. This is not something that someone will do for you... no one will suddenly knock on your door because they heard you playing music and immediately sign you to a record deal.
What is the action you must take to make yourself head and shoulders above the rest of the musicians out there who are also trying to do the same things you want to do in the music industry? You must figure exactly what 'risks' and 'values' you offer to anyone in the music business who is thinking about working with you.
You need to understand that all musicians (including yourself) bring various levels of risk to the table whenever they work together with other people in the music industry (music companies, band members, managers, etc.) The worst way to 'shoot yourself in the foot' is to be unaware of this. By being unaware of the risks you bring to the table, you will -in turn- be unaware of how to make yourself more valuable to those you want to work with. This all goes WAY beyond just the music you play or songs you write.
Of course, if you don't yet know these things about yourself, this is completely understandable. Why? There simply do not exist any resources where you could learn more information about this topic. This is a very specific subject that has to do with your own unique personality, career situation and musical goals. The things that are valuable or risky when it comes to working together with you are completely different in relation to working with someone else. You must become familiar with exactly what you offer in terms of risk or reward in any specific situation. It's for this reason that I am not simply publishing a long, extensive list of 'risks and values' for you to look through.
To understand this better, think about the Olympian athletes I mentioned above. These athletes face extreme levels of competition where the difference between one athlete's skills and the skills of another is very small. When one athlete is off by even the tiniest degree in his/her training or mental preparation, this person will end up going home without a medal. That's why the most successful Olympians do not train by themselves. Instead, they work together with a coach who will consistently keep them performing at the highest level possible so that they do not 'slip up' when it is time to compete. By working with a coach, the athlete not only is able to compete at a higher level, but is able to quickly correct any fundamental flaws that would keep them from reaching their goals (something that they simply couldn't do on their own).
The musicians who become the most successful in the music industry all use coaches in this same manner. Just like Olympic athletes, you will struggle to correct all the errors in your thinking and preparation if you try to do everything by yourself. Fact is, there are so many musicians who are just a step away from achieving great success, but are unable to see a key mental error that is keeping them from fulfilling their full potential. Only the musicians who work with coaches or mentors are able to spot any fundamental mistakes they are making in order to rise above the rest. These are the musicians who reach the greatest success in this industry.
Learn how you can get your own music career coach by reading the info in this article about building a successful music career.
Moral of the story: if you are serious about becoming a professional musician and succeeding in the music industry, don't take the same approach as most musicians by trying to do it alone. Locate a music industry mentor who has tons of experience helping musicians succeed in their careers. Don't be content with merely 'participating' in your music career, find a coach and get the gold medal!
Complete this assessment on the topic of working with a music business coach to learn how an experienced music career mentor will help you become a successful pro musician.
Tom Hess is a professional touring guitarist and recording artist. He teaches, trains and mentors musicians from around the world.
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