Starting our professional careers as Musicians
PHOTOGRAPHY BY AISHA PEGLEY
Sup guys And late though it may be, happy new year to you.
So I’ve been keen to continue talking to people who interest me about issues I hold dear. In the first post, I interviewed my Mother about life in her 20’s. Loved hearing what she had to say. If you wanna give it a read, heres the link …
As a continuation of this series, I sat down for a chat with my dear friend Jamie-Lee. Jamie is an exceptional and accomplished Viola & Violin player. We met in our first year of University and soon became top chums. If you didn’t already know, I’m a vocalist by trade so Jamie-lee and I could relate to each other with our experiences as we started trying to work. She is a strong creative force with a heart of gold. You can keep up with her activities on her website & blog:
Website – JAMIE-LEEGLINSMAN.COM
Blog – SILVER SEQUOIA
Over our glorious cups of coffee (Chai Latte for Jamie, Mocha Latte for me :P) we asked ourselves …
‘If I could travel back in time to when I first started working as a Musician, what advice would I give myself ?’
And of the many many many things we would say to ourselves, we chose the top 6. We’re definitely not claiming to know all that there is to know now ! haha. Or that we have achieved ‘success’ yet. Far from it ! We still struggle and we use these points as reminders on a daily basis.
We could have gone on for ages but advice such as, ‘Don’t drink 3 glasses of wine before reading the music/lyrics to dozens of pop tunes at a Wedding gig‘ didn’t make the cut.
So here is our advice !
1. Don’t be afraid to ask. Its easy to become paralysed by fear when talking to someone in the music industry that you admire or respect. And because of this, you may not ask them any questions that you have in order to avoid coming across naive or pushy and overbearing. But if your talking a kind person, they will remember the difficulties of starting out and will respect your passion and ambition. But of course there is a time and a place for these conversations and with continuous practise you will develop the intuition to know when these moments are.
2. Find yourself a supportive network of friends and colleges. In order for any relationship to be healthy, professional or otherwise, it has to be mutually beneficial. And there are so many ways in which you could help others and visa versa. The sooner you start creating and nurturing these working relationships, the better. And remember, you may just be starting out but you have a lot to offer. Your time, talent and keen spirit for working & learning are extremely valuable assets.
3. Be careful with your investments. Think carefully about what you are investing your time and energy into. There are loads of musical projects happening. And although its good to be busy, it can be harmful to you and your career if you invest too much in a project that you don’t find fulfilling, fun or useful. Think about the purpose that is being served.
4. Be shameless with your self expression. It’s amazing how many decision we can make based on whether other people approve. As a musician and an artist, the path to creating work that is authentic and unique involves being able to cut out the noise and value your own opinion strongly. Whether its within social media or in real life, you don’t really have much hope of communicating well with others if your always questioning the value of your voice.
5. Have a wide network of friends & colleges. Being a self-employed musician means that you’re entirely responsible for maintaining your stream of work. By being dependant on multiple lines of income, you will be safer if there are any sudden changes or if any of your working relationships come to an end.
6. Don’t beat yourself up/Pace yourself. There is no handbook on ‘How to be successful as a Musician’. There are so many things to figure out: ‘What does success mean to me?’, ‘How I gain fulfilment?’, ‘What sacrifices am I willing to make for my craft?’, ‘How will I support myself ?‘ …. The list is never ending. But as long you keep at it and stay keen, you will find the answers along the way. And be comforted in the knowledge that you’re not the only person experiencing these difficulties ! We’re all in it together
7. (Bonus) It’s gonna be a fricking bumpy road so brace yourself ! haha 😉