Making a Living Performing
The old adage ‘Find a job you love and you’ll never have to work again’ certainly rings true for many performing musician. It’s hard to describe the thrill you get when you’re on stage with a captive audience listening to every note you sing or play. However, being in such a position – and being able to make a living from it – doesn’t come easily. Surprisingly, it’s not about being able to sing or play an instrument well, and it’s not even about being 'better than the rest'. There is much more to making a living performing.
Of course there are shortcuts to securing an income from performing, which are no secret:
- go to a music college and spend a few years getting to a very high standard on your chosen instrument, then join a professional orchestra (this will take at least five years of higher education so barely qualifies as a shortcut);
- win a major television talent show, such as ‘The X Factor’ or ‘Britain’s Got Talent’;
- get lucky performing somewhere and be spotted by a talent scout or an A&R person from a major record company;
- have a YouTube video that goes viral, be noticed by a recording company, and get a lucrative recording contract.
There are success stories that accompany all of the above scenarios, but they are few and far between. For the vast majority of musicians there is no shortcut to the top and no shortcut to making a living performing. It takes time, motivation, drive and determination. These are all qualities that must come from within.
Assuming you possess these qualities, what do you do next? Well, in fairy tales you would do a few gigs, get noticed by the people that count, and overnight success would quickly follow. In the real world this rarely happens. Even well-known stars that have seemingly had overnight success have, in truth, worked hard for many years.
There is no secret formula to making a living performing, but there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of success and reduce the amount of time you spend on non-productive endeavours. The book Breaking Into the Music Business: An Essential Guide for performers is all about getting started, and contains a vast amount of information and advice. In fact I firmly believe that if I had read a book like this at the start of my musical career it would have put me at a significant advantage.
Be professional in dealing with people, develop a good business sense, set targets, network in the right way, have your own pricing structure, know what you are worth, learn how to promote yourself – these are just some of the many topics covered.
The book is available as an eBook from Amazon. If you don’t have an eBook reader, such as a Kindle, you can download an eBook reading App for a variety of smartphones, computers and tablets, free from Amazon.
Check out the full list of contents and read a preview at Amazon, and if you still want to read more download a sample onto your eBook reader - free.