This is a groove to make your day better. Take two of these and call me in the morning… ;-)
I don’t know the exact day it happened, all I know is that at this point I’m happy with the place I’m in. When I think about going to the studio to record or playing the piano I can’t help but smile. It brings me so much joy to pull a song from a place that can’t be seen with your eyes and bring it to this reality. I don’t know if it’s the actual music that I create or the act of creating it that I love more. It doesn’t really matter…
I took these in Antarctica. I have more pics like this in 3 photo books.
People think musicians don’t work, that we have it easy. By the time the world meets a musician, he has already spent countless dollars on equipment and teachers. Countless hours practicing his instrument, locked in a room away from all humans. By the time people see musicians, they meet this person who seems happy, out going, and ready to party. They don’t understand that we have just been set free from the 4 walls of a practice room and are trying to make up for lost time!
A friend of mine told me about a study that was done where they took musicians who were performing and used equipment to monitor stress. They did the same test on people with 9-5 jobs who worked at a desk all day. They determined that a performing musician in two hours goes through the same amount of stress as the person who works at a desk for 8 hours.
I tried to explain to a non-musician (a “civilian” as my friend Maritri Garrette, who is an amazing musician, calls them) why we shouldn’t work the same amount of hours as a person with a 9-5 and came up with this. A musician who is performing and reading music literally is deciphering math equations and playing them, hopefully, in a way that sounds good. A musician who is improvising is literally creating spontaneous and complex math equations that have to fit in with a set group of math equations that other musicians are playing. We do all this smiling with the added anxiety of people staring at you… :-/
The next time someone tells you that you don’t work hard, hand them a calculus book and a pencil and tell them to do math equations for 2 hours straight and see how easy it is. Being a musician is fulfilling and difficult. The reason it looks easy is because we love performing. We can’t help it if other people hate what they do. All we as hard working, focused, and creative beings can do for our civilian counterparts is to show them love, give them a great show, and sell them a CD/T-Shirt/Hat/Photo-Book/Underwear/Scarf in any combination that they choose. Be proud to be a musician, you rock and everybody knows it! ;-)
I had an epiphany today that will hopefully help you on your journey to success. You are probably extremely talented with an idea of finishing something creative in your mind. If I were to ask a question about your idea you could most likely spit out the answer just as fast as I could ask it. If I were to ask you why haven’t you completed your project yet I would either get the not enough money answer or a blank stare that says, “I don’t know”.
As creative beings, if we put out minds to anything, we can creatively get past the money issue. Saying that, I want those of you who need money to keep reading as well.
From my own experience, the first project you complete for yourself is always the hardest. You have a lot of questions, you make a lot of mistakes, and you typically spend more money than you have to. This sounds bad, but you learn valuable lessons that will make every project after that much easier.
I have an exercise that will help you to start your projects and if you’re already started a project, help you to finish. The concept is very simple, I call it taking one bite at a time (I like to eat).
1. Write down every step in sequential order that needs to be taken to complete your project. For example, for a CD:
1. Write songs
2. Record songs
3. Get graphics for my CD cover
4. Get physical CDs
2. Get a sheet of paper for every step that’s needed. If there are four steps like above, I will get four sheets of paper.
3. At the top of each sheet of paper, write a step for this project. For example, on sheet one I write, “Write Songs”. Sheet two, I write, “Record songs” etc.
4. Finally, on each of these sheets of paper, write the steps needed to finish this step. For example, step one is, “Write songs”. I would put:
1. Find musicians or writers to write with me
2. Completely finish 5-8 songs.
5. Put the sheets of paper in a folder or somewhere safe. Try to do something everyday that will get you closer to finishing a step on each page. As you finish a step, cross it off from the list.
After doing this for a few weeks, you will see how rewarding working to fulfill your own goals everyday is. Seeing your goals at such a small level will also allow you to think of creative ways to get around your money issues.
Let me know if you have any advice or success storied that will motivate others to finish their projects.
Most of the musicians in today’s music industry were taught by others who lived when talent and blood, sweat and tears were all you needed to survive. You practiced hard enough and learned your scales fast enough, and someone magically came by your practice room with a check to whisk you off to a land of milk and honey. Those days are gone and have been for some time.
I hear a lot of musicians say things like, “The pools of money for music have dried up.” They remember a time only 5 or 10 years ago when the average musician could survive off of 3 gigs a week, a few students and a couple of sessions. But gigs now pay 50 percent less, and major recording studios are shutting down left and right. That old way of making a living is basically impossible now.
The pools of money for music haven’t dried up, they’re just smaller. And instead of a few large pools, there are now many more smaller ones.
Where are these pools of money? They’re everywhere! But the money is not only in playing gigs and studio sessions. It’s in doing gigs as well as satellite sessions where you record yourself and send the files to a client on the other side of the World. It’s in making CDs in your home to compete with major-label CDs that once cost 1,000 percent more to produce and manufacture. It’s in designing and building your own website to sell products automatically so you can get to your gig on time. And it’s in a full-time commitment to blogging, sending mass emails and updating Facebook and Twitter to drive traffic to your site to boost CD and T-shirt sales.
I know it seems like a horrible time for musicians, but it’s a hopeful sign that many young people still want careers in music. We can learn a lot by looking at the way they approach it. They are not just musicians. They are music producers, vocals producers, composers and film scorers. They are also bloggers, internet marketing geniuses and graphic designers. They develop all these skills because they’re fun for them just as performing music is fun. They’re adapting their skills to the world they see around them. If we pay attention to them, we can learn how the environment in the music industry is changing and how to change with it.
The musicians who are teaching this new generation are often under the impression that the techniques they used to build a career in music still apply. But to survive in today’s economy, musicians must have many skills not related to performing. They must be great musicians, and they also must be audio engineers, producers, sales representatives and website designers. They must be fluent in the language of music as well as of computers, marketing and social networks.
We live in a time when musicians can empower themselves to make their career dreams come true. We have an opportunity to be the first generation to hold on to more money that we generate from our skills than we sign over to a corporate entity or agent. We can make music without selling our souls. What a beautiful day to be a musician!