musician traits

7 Traits Every Musician Should Develop

Making music is all about music but making a CAREER in music requires more than talent, it requires certain traits that really push you to excel.

Here are the traits every musician should develop in order to achieve success:


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Here’s the news: Grunt work is what building your music career is all about.

So maybe at first you wanted this music career thing because playing the tuba is what you’re good at all your life, so that would make things easy breezy. Sorry to burst your bubble, you’re WRONG!

As mentioned, talent is only one ingredient, there are 1,278 more! But if you are discouraged by this fact because it would require a whole lot of effort, then drop the idea that you’re going to have a music career and leave.

A career in music is not a hobby. It is mostly fun but it definitely requires hard work- practices will be rigid, you’ll have to tweet and Facebook and all that. Be ready.


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Not saying that you should play music simply for the money.

You’re an artist first, entrepreneur second. I mean, you love playing music that’s why you want this career, right? And that’s why you have a day job to cover the bills, right?

If you’re in this for the long run (meaning, you’re thinking long-term as in: In 10 years you’ll be touring full-time), then you better treat your career as a business (but a business you love, of course).

Your passion must be turned into something that would allow you to feed yourself in the future so you can keep on doing it. Once you have that mindset, the specific stuff on how to go about it would follow smoothly.


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You will meet a lot of difficult people everyday.

You may even be a difficult person yourself. And you should know that in any career, networking is extremely necessary. These are people that you can work with in order to mutually benefit you. Good contacts can open doors and lead you to shortcuts.

However, there are times that they’d lead you on and give you promises they can’t keep. You’d feel used. If you think the contact could still help you in the future and that he/she didn’t really mean to cause you trouble, don’t burn bridges.

Give him/her another chance to help you. Whatever happens, just don’t blow your steam. You may distance yourself for some time if you really feel awful but  try to be decent.


How to Cultivate Self-Discipline (and Why That's Important)

Deep inner strength and self- direction are absolutely necessary if you want a career in music because your mom won’t be there to pull up the curtains and push you to practice.

You also don’t have a Personal Assistant to remind you of your to-do list. You are your own boss. Sure your band mates are there to push you but they’d get pissed if they have to call you everytime there’s practice when you already know there’s practice.

You are your own boss so be a good boss to yourself.


social skills musician traits

Don’t be shy but don’t be cocky, either.

Make sure you learn how to make friends with other bands without looking desperate. There is nothing more annoying to established musicians than a new musician blatantly working his way in the music community by being too confident.

These people have been around for years so do not try to come on too strong by talking as if you know a lot about the industry, you know a lot of people, and that your music is really different compared to other musicians. Try to examine your personality and recall if someone has told you that you’re cocky or too confident.

Ask your friends and band mates for their honest opinion and work on improving your social skills. Learn to have that balance so other musicians would not ignore you or find you annoying.


musician traits

Superstar complex (especially if you’re still a newbie) is ridiculously funny and annoying. When it comes to people, places, and food, do not be too picky that people would remember you and label you for it.

If they assign you to play at the beginning or end, then grab that chance, be grateful, give it your best shot and hope that you’ll get a better slot as time goes by. Do not brag about “being an artist” or “being a musician” if you can help it.

So… can’t you talk about your music anymore? Course, you can. By all means! But you somehow know when you’re showing off, right? Bragging is bragging.

If you can’t tell when you’re being a show-off or not, be observant of the people you consider brags and just don’t do what they do and don’t say what they say. Stay humble no matter what happens to you.


So you had a very bad day because of your school, your buddy, your pet, your Farmville…and you can’t help but be grumpy.

What can you do, that’s just the way you are. You’re just being REAL. You can’t pretend like you’re enjoying your band practice or gig or having fun talking to new acquaintances when deep down you are really pissed at something.

This kind of attitude will not get you anywhere. Why would you keep your anger, frustration, or any negative emotion inside your system? You answer me “ It’s not my choice. It just won’t go away.” Well, the truth is you have control over everything including your temper.

There are techniques that can help you manage your negative emotions and manage the difficult band member. Meanwhile, fake it till you’re used to it so you won’t affect other people and you’ll gain more friends and opportunities.

No one wants to be around a grumpy man-even if he sings well. You should also learn how to deal with a difficult band member so all your energies will be focused on improving your music instead of petty things.


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, custom vinyl records and merch company in LA.

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