If you’ve been making music for a while, you have already taken an important step to launching a career in music. With the creative juices flowing and the discipline to practice your craft, you might be wondering how to pursue your dream of making music full-time.
Pursuing a career in music requires passion and dedication. To help get started, consider these 8 tips for making music a full-time gig.
- Set Goals: The music promotion service SonicBids recommends setting incremental goals to help make your music dreams feel more like an achievable reality. Starting with a list of short-term goals can help get the ball rolling. Those could include booking a few performance dates in your town, sticking to a practice schedule or writing a promotional bio for your act. From there, you will be able to build on small successes to expand into larger goals.
- Make Connections: Networking is important to booking dates and getting recording opportunities. Reach out to venues, fellow musicians, music educators or recording studio contacts to start making connections that could lead to work down the road.
- Pursue Additional Training: Making a career in music requires diligence in practicing and honing your skills. Consider taking lessons to fine-tune your singing or piano playing. For those looking to make the music world a lifelong career, a masters in music education online sets the foundation for a successful work life in music education.
- Build a Brand Online: Sharing your music online is an important step in today’s music world. Sites like Band-camp allow musicians to sell their own music. Acts with robust profiles in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can build their brand, share information about upcoming concert dates and allow fans a place to connect with one another. Create an easy-to-navigate website that includes samples of your music and contact information for those interested in booking or licensing your act. Be sure to keep all online profiles updated with new content to keep audiences engaged. A combination of a well-maintained website, a social media persona and presence on music industry websites will ensure your band shows up in online searches.
- Practice, Practice, Practice: The author Malcolm Gladwell writes that to get truly good at something and become successful at it, you must invest 10,000 hours of training and practice. Becoming a successful career musician is a long road, and there’s no substitute for keeping to a strict practice schedule to refine your skills.
- Look for Support: Once you start to gain some traction in the music industry, it might not be possible to do everything alone. Touring acts bring on support teams including managers, booking agents, public relations teams, sound engineers and lighting technicians.
- Treat it Like a Business: Whether your goal is to sell albums, rack up a streaming count, book tour dates or build a business teaching music lessons, it’s important to treat the line of business like just that – a business. Get set up with an accounting and bookkeeping system to keep track of billing and invoices. Learn how to read, write and edit a business contract before signing on to a tour date. Bulking up your business skills will help others perceive you as professional and will prevent headaches later on.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Fail: Artists who put themselves out there will hear “no” at least a few times throughout their career. Successful musicians learn to push through rejections and learn from them, without getting stalled out by focusing too much on the negatives. Instead, learn how to celebrate successes and ride them on to your next goal. Remember that with every rejection or stumble, there’s an opportunity to learn, consider what could have been done differently and get better.
Taking music from a part-time passion to a full-time career path is a challenging, but achievable, process. Remember to set incremental goals, stick to a practice schedule and learn from every setback. Build your business and marketing skills, consider pursuing additional music education and pull together a network that will help you achieve your dreams.