If you’re a musician in your teens or twenties, or heck any age at all but you’re new to the game, here are some little bits of music advice so you can elevate your music career more quickly…or at least not sabotage it.
You probably know by now that it comes with a bit of insecurity and too much alcohol and opportunities to make a complete fool of yourself, not to mention…a possible chance to sabotage your music career! To make sure you don’t do anything that could be detrimental to your career, here’s a list of advice for new musicians to make sure you are on your way to success:
#1. Don’t be afraid to ask
What’s the worst thing that can happen, that you’d get a no? You can handle that! You’re not made of glass. But in case you are fragile, then…
#2. Get as many NOs as possible
Getting at least one rejection a day. This can toughen you up and help you in many ways (like knowing ways to improve your work, your approach, etc) than just clenching your teeth in a corner and waiting for a big miracle to happen.
#3. Miracles don’t happen
You work hard to create these miracles. No one’s going to save you or offer something life-altering without you doing hard work. Not even if you’re talented.
#4. Do something else aside from your music
Paint, garden, crochet, make experiments in the kitchen. It will help you grow as an artist and a person. This music advice may seem counterproductive, but most of the really great artists do other things aside from art. Life should nourish your art.
#5. Carry a notebook everywhere
This is where you’ll write down your ideas. So many wonderful ideas are forgotten at the end of every day because we absorb and worry about so many things within the day. Write down an idea the moment it visits you.
#6. Don’t do drugs
You have to try harder to be healthy even, or especially if, you’re in a very rock-and-roll environment. You still have your whole life and music career ahead of you.
#7. Practice hard
but when you play, don’t mind who’s listening. Enjoy the moment, enjoy the music. This is probably the #1 music advice there is. If you don’t practice, you won’t have great music. That’s it.
#8. Or imagine you’re playing in front of the greats…
your idols. Imagine David Bowie nodding his head and winking at you.
#9 Practicing: quality, not quantity
If you’re too tired or too uninspired, don’t force yourself. Reserve your energy for another day.
#10. Get a mentor, befriend your elders
Instead of just hanging out with other young musicians, take time to get to know the ones who’re way ahead of you. Not only will you learn the ropes faster, it could be refreshing for you as well. Who knows, they might know someone who knows someone who can help you. But first, read up on some personality tips that are truly essential for musicians.
#11. Learn the business of music
Know the legal stuff, learn how to draft contracts, write good emails, basic accounting. You need these things so you won’t be exploited and so that you can maximize your potential to make money and a career out of your music.
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD/vinyl and merch company in LA.