21 Inspirational Quotes for the 21st Century Musician


What does it mean to be a musician in the 21st century?

SD and I talk about this often. From where we stand, the 21st century requires musicians to be flexible, creative, and versatile, possessing a wide variety of skills that can be used in a wide variety of settings. Instead of doing just one thing, we (and many of our friends) have built careers doing many different things - teaching, performing, writing/blogging, presenting, directing, and working in arts administration.Some call it freelancing, others call it "music entrepreneurship," or being a "portfolio musician."

Regardless of the label, we feel being a musician in the 21st century means you are your own business. It's more than just playing your instrument or landing a dream job. It's more than just "being the best." Being my own business means curating great opportunities, managing my time well, and adding value through several types of work. This gives me creative liberty to use my unique skills and experiences in meaningful ways.

Whether you're just getting started or you've built a successful music career, here are 21 inspirational quotes for you, the 21st century musician:

21 Inspirational Quotes for the 21st Century Musician

1. "An artist’s musical experience is as unique as his or her life experience; finding a way of capturing that unique set of experiences and using one’s skills to turn them into meaningful art is the path to being an extraordinary musician in the 21st century." - Judd Greenstein

2. “Don’t listen to what people say, watch what they do." - Jed Carlson, ReverbNation co-founder

3. "To be extraordinary is to create work of exceptional quality that only you can make." - Judd Greenstein

4. "Curiosity is the most important skill an entrepreneur can have. No matter where you are in a business you have to constantly challenge your assumptions and ask questions of your customers, your team, your partners, and most importantly yourself. Question your wins, losses, and everything in between." - Joe Conyers, Songtrust

5. "Everything you've ever wanted is on the other side of fear." - George Addair

6. "A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new." - Albert Einstein

7. "By staying true to your art, your vision, you can create something that did not exist otherwise, something beautiful, joyful, powerful and draped in meaning." - Mark Rabideau

8. "Always deliver more than expected." - Larry Page, Google co-founder

9. "You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." - Maya Angelou

10. "You have to give to get. Establish a networking group, and help others advance their careers, and yours will advance." - Dick Huey, Founder, Toolshed

11. "Entrepreneurship is neither a science nor an art. It is a practice." – Peter Drucker

12. "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life." -Steve Jobs

13. "Think strategically and lead by providing value. Being an entrepreneur is an honor that carries with it a major responsibility to create opportunities for others. Trust your instincts, go with what feels right, and MAKE IT HAPPEN!" - Ben Maitland-Lewis, Presskit.to

14. "Part of being a great musician is to know your limitations." - Kevin Dean, The Kevin Dean Quintet

15. "Meaningful change begins by feeding your curiosity about the world around you and asking yourself what impact you hope to make." - Mark Rabideau

16. "Focusing on one thing and doing it really, really well can get you very far." - Kevin Systrom, Instagram

17. "Learn something today, tomorrow, and the day after that will develop your knowledge in your area of expertise – and learn it as if you had to teach it." - Marcus Taylor, Venture Harbour

18. "Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

19. "There is only one way to avoid criticism: Do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing." - Aristotle

20. "You shouldn’t focus on why you can’t do something, which is what most people do. You should focus on why perhaps you can, and be one of the exceptions." - Steve Case, AOL co-founder

21. "The only way to do great work is to love what you do." - Steve Jobs

What does being a 21st century musician mean to you?

More reading:
Entrepreneurship and the Artist: Revolutionary
We lack a strong enough workforce of professional 'portfolio' musicians
The Extraordinary Musician