Very few people start playing music to make money. We play because it’s grabs our attention and keeps it. We play because it feels more natural and comfortable than any other form of communication.
A Professional Musician
For many musicians, the process of making a living as a musician is a real struggle. It’s a process that tries to put a price tag on the priceless.
While we find our way as professional musicians our hope and dreams and faith and belief in ourselves (perhaps a higher power) is often tied to the success we find in our careers. This puts a monumental amount of stress and burden on ourselves, our music and our careers.
The Business of The Music Industry
While music is magic, business is business. The business side of the music industry only cares about talent so much. If your product doesn’t sell it doesn’t matter how good it might be.
This realization is what leads many musicians to change their approach to making music. After all, finding a niche in the music industry is better than not playing music at all.
The threat to the soul of the musician is that in changing to meet the demands of the industry we can lose our identity and our passion.
Putting the Art First
The hardest thing to do as a musician is to maintain our identities and feelings about ourselves separate from our music and how it’s received. This is a challenge made greater by the fact that so many musicians judge each other by their music and talent level. Not only do we beat ourselves up but we also beat each other up, even if unintentionally.
Ultimately, the world does not owe us anything. The best chef in the world may never get the chance to own her own restaurant. The fastest runner may never make it to the Olympics.
This is not a reason to not pursue your dreams. In fact it’s the opposite. Pursue them with every ounce of energy you have. Use your creativity in not only your music but your presentation of your art. Be creative in your business ideas. Be creative in everything. Surround yourself with creative people and go all in with their ideas as well.
While pursuing those dreams just be sure to judge yourself and others by the content of character and not the content of social media or streaming services. Separate yourself from your art just enough to know who you are if your art ever goes away or ceases to provide income.
Yes, our music is a reflection of who we are and that’s why we slave over notes, tones and mixes. It’s why we spend more money than we should on our gear and touring and albums. It’s is important to us, but it is not who we are at the core of our being.
An instrument is made of more than just the songs that are played on it.