When you consider being a musician, you often just think of playing the music, doing what you love, but in this day and age a musician has to do a lot more than just play music. Unless you’re lucky enough to be one of the few bands that find themselves being offered the very lucrative record deal, being a musician takes up a lot of your time and energy.
Any musician would love to be able to say that they are a musician as a full-time job, but very few can actually say this as a fact. These days it’s got harder and harder for musicians, as it has everyone else to balance the daily pressures along with the dream.
Working as a musician is hard work
Now wouldn’t you love to be able to say that you’ve got a manger and a whole team of people behind you who are working hard to promote you and your music, but the reality is that it’s you that is working hard to get people to recognize your music. When you aren’t working to keep the wolfs from the door, you’re spending time on your band trying to crack that market and draw attention to what you believe is the best thing to come out of your town ever. But what should you be doing to draw attention to your band?
Song writing and practice
No band is worth its reputation without decent songs behind it. This means not only finding the time to write the songs as a band, but finding the time to rehearse them while also keeping your original songs in check. What this equates to is time and money. The time to write the songs and rehearse, and having the money in order to be able to book the practice room at least once a week so that you can hone that new song to perfection. Then once you’ve practiced that song over and over, the expensive part comes in, recording those songs so that people are able to hear your music, and hopefully want to buy your music at a gig.
Getting gigs is easier said than done. As much as it would be great to be able to just click your fingers and get a gig automatically, you have to put the time into it – yes you have to find the time again and you have to have the recordings in order for them to listen to. No promoter or venue worth their salt is going to put you on unless you can prove that you’re worth it – that you can entertain those in attendance and that you can bring people to the gig in order to make them money and hopefully mean you’ll at least get your petrol money back. Even getting a gig in your hometown isn’t easy, as you can’t always rely on your friends to come to the gig, as who has the money to go to every gig? So this is where building a fan base comes in.
Social networking and bands
Social networking as become vital in many areas, not just on a personal level, but on a business level too. Many of the bands I go and see I know of because of social media; from following me on Twitter, or even a friend suggesting them on Facebook. So for a band it’s vital that they are on top of every form of social networking possible. Make sure it isn’t just one member dealing with all the different aspects of social media too. For one thing it isn’t fair to expect them to do it all, plus how would they have the time to devote the much needed time to each site? They won’t, so split the different sites up depending on who feels most comfortable on each platform and get networking.
Being a musician involves a lot of dedication, if you’re serious you have to put the time and the energy in, but think of the rewards when you’re playing a gig and have someone come up to you and say ‘that was really great’. That’s when you realize that the hard work has paid off. Now you just need a fair few more of those comments.