music career

Jumpstart Your Music Career with These Helpful Tips

Jumpstart Your Music Career with These Helpful Tips

The beginning of a new career is an exciting time, full of energy, motivation, and possibility.

Maybe you’re taking that first step from music student to music professional, newly-printed diploma in hand (or in the mail - sometimes these things take a while).

Or maybe you’ve been working for a few years and are ready to make a change and set off in a new direction.

Maybe you’re in between things: trying to figure out what you want to do and what kind of musician you want to become, or maybe you’re beginning a second career later in life.

Wherever you are today, and wherever you hope to be in the next few months, here are 5 helpful tips for getting started:

7 Things I Didn't Learn in Music School

7 Things I Didn't Learn in Music School

8 a.m. theory classes, 1-credit ensembles, concerts, performances, listening exams, and 10 p.m. practice sessions.

Ah, music school.

I’ve spent my fair share of time in music school: from my undergraduate degree in Piano and Organ Performance to a Master’s and Ph.D. in Music Education, I think it all adds up to 10 years (but who’s really counting?).

And yet, despite all that schooling (and all those recitals and term papers), there were still many things I didn’t know when I started building my career; things I had to figure out on my own and learn with time and practical experience.

Four Reasons Why Playing Your Instrument for Fun is Vital to Your Music Career

Four Reasons Why Playing Your Instrument for Fun is Vital to Your Music Career

When was the last time you sat down at your instrument and played music for fun? I mean, not music you had to practice or prepare, but music you chose to play for yourself, for your own enjoyment?

So often as professionals, we don’t make time for this. We assume that all the music we’re being paid to learn and practice will also count as the musical satisfaction we need to keep going in our career. Kill two birds with one stone, right? I mean, who has time to play for fun?

But the problem is, this can become stifling. Instead of making music as a form of expression and creativity, making music becomes something we have to do, a task on our list. In short, it becomes work.

And when it becomes work, we lose that spark of inspiration, we miss the connection to the creative process, that feeling of making something personal, real, and deeply authentic. We lose some of the meaning behind why we started playing in the first place.

But, the good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way.

21 Inspirational Quotes for the 21st Century Musician

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: