It’s not easy to make $100,000-plus as a musician. But if you are willing to put in the work, go all-in on your career, and accept the idea of trading what you do well for money, the rest is pretty simple.
Did You Become a Musician to Make Big Money?
Be honest. You probably weren’t thinking of cashing in like that when you first discovered your talent. But as you refined your sound, how long did it take to figure out you didn’t want to play for tips the rest of your life?
True, many musicians go through the starving artist phase. It’s called paying dues. Now that you’ve paid yours—and more—earning six figures or more a year sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
Did I just hear a yes? Great! Read on to find out how you can earn without compromising your principles.
Never Underestimate Yourself.
There’s a tendency in all competitive environments—music among them—for people who weren’t born with an instrument in their hands to shortchange themselves.
Keep in mind, though, just because some people are higher up the pyramid than you, it doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a spot at the top.
Take your talent seriously. Believe in your goals because if you don’t, nobody will. Be your biggest advocate, supporter, and cheerleader—especially when times get tough.
Push yourself and your career to the next level. Play through the doubts and anxiety because if anyone ever asks you how to get to $100,000, you know the answer: Practice, practice, practice.
Dress for Success.
Look sharp, be sharp. It sounds trite in an age when people wear pajamas on airplanes, but it’s true. Style never goes out of style. Whether you’re a teacher or performer, no one will pay attention to you until you look like you’re worth it.
Ask yourself: does Beyonce dress down?
If you want to up your hourly rate or ticket prices, look the part. Not sure how to up your wardrobe game? Check out musicians you admire who are successful and model your style choices on theirs. Don’t be a complete copycat. Everyone wants the real “you” to shine through!
Get Outside Your Regular Environment.
If you haven’t noticed, the pandemic is over. Get up, get out, and get playing!
If you teach, offer your services to a nearby school or senior center. If you play music, play gigs at street fairs, schools, and other alternative venues. These are great ways to find new audiences and make new connections. It will help you make up for some of what you lost in the last two years.
Never Stop Learning.
Music is changing all the time. There’s always something new to learn. And how can you expect to earn more if your skill set is stuck in neutral?
If you didn’t do it while you were locked down, do it now: Learn something new!
Act Like You Earn Six Figures.
Think about it: How do six-figure musicians act?
Some of the words that may come to mind include:
Come up with your own list. Then start practicing the attributes on it.
This is taking the idea of fake it until you make it to the next level: Practice it until you achieve it.
A word of caution: Don’t try to live like you’re earning $100K until you’re actually earning it. Living beyond your means can put you so deep in the hole so fast it could take years to dig out.
Do Something Different.
You can’t change your income until you change up your life.
It’s great to have a plan for how to take your career to the next level. If you’re feeling stuck and can’t come up with a plan, just do something different.
Doing something new doesn’t take a big commitment, but it could inspire a new path into your future.
Consumers will pay a premium for a brand product that enriches their lifestyles.
Do you give people a reason to choose your brand of music over that of other musicians?
If you want to get ahead, your sound and style has to resonate with people who will pay a premium to hear it.
Explore a guide that explains how musicians can brand themselves, so they stand out with their own brand personality.
Sell More Than Music.
Why limit your income possibilities?
Those little value-adds add up and can significantly increase your income. Get creative and think about what you could sell to generate extra cash.
Work Smarter, Not Harder!
Many musicians work themselves to death trying to earn more.
Why not carve out a little time to figure out how you could work less, yet still earn more?
Make it a priority to take time to figure out how to upscale and upgrade your career so you do less but earn more.
Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative.
They made a song about that, so it must work. People who give off negative vibes will hold you back even if you do all the things on this list perfectly.
It’s time to take all the bad stuff and get rid of it!
Eliminating what holds you back will propel you into the future.
The first part is simple enough. You know its’ time to record your music when:
Now you know when it’s time to record your music. Knowing how to record your music—and do it right—is a little trickier.
This is not your grandfather’s music industry.It’s only been a couple of generations since competent musicians could get together in a garage or do-it-yourself studio, hit the play button on a tape deck, and play. Some of the eventual greats started by producing their own demos well enough to catch the ear of people who made things happen for them.
To get a recording that’s worthy of your talents as a musician and composer you’ll need time in a studio—preferably one that records 24 to 48 tracks—an experienced producer and savvy production team. In short, it’s more complicated and more expensive to create a professional sounding recording fans will find acceptable when they download and listen to it.
When it comes to music producers, there are two kinds: good ones who take your music and make it amazing, and all the rest. A good producer can launch your career. A bad one can leave you with a handful of muddy recordings and take your money.
Most producers freelance and rely on agents to handle fees and negotiate with record companies. The companies for their part try to match producers with artists who can benefit from working with them. However, producers’ fees can price up-and-coming musicians and groups out of the market.
Consider your options.It will take some work and time, but if you look hard enough you just might find your dream producer.
Option A: Top-tier producers will sometimes work with an unsigned artist—you—on spec. That is, they will produce newcomers if they believe they have talent and work ethic to break through. If a producer agrees to work with you in this way, money is negotiable. They may skip the down payment or up-front fee or reduce them in return for payment when you get a record or publishing deal. This could end up being a percentage of future income or royalties rather than a flat fee.
Keep in mind, though, that producer is betting on the future and will want the odds to be in his favor. Unless you are a lock for stardom, you might want to consider Option B, which is:
Find an up-and-coming producer. They have to start somewhere, too, and a newbie who knows his way around the soundboard may be more likely to work with you than a proven professional. Working with undiscovered but top-quality talent—you—is their opportunity to gain experience and build their portfolios. If the partnership clicks, you both will benefit from working with each other.
You’ve tried Option A—a producer who will record you on spec—and Option B—a new producer who is hungry—and neither is working. Time for Option C, which is:
Produce your own music.
You’ll still need to hire a sound engineer to set up recording equipment and handle much of the technical side of a studio production. If you find one with eyes on becoming a producer, you may be on the brink of a beautiful friendship. If you have studio contacts, you might also ask if they have an engineer with producing potential who would want to take shot at producing new talent.
Where to look.Here are some ways you can find the production help you deserve:
If you find a producer or engineer you want to work with, check online ratings and reviews of them or contact references to ensure you’ll be working with someone who is reputable and experienced. While most music professionals are good people, there are some bad actors, and you want to make sure you don’t get involved with one of them.
5 Common Social Media Issues Musicians Face … And the Solutions.
Social media has the tendency to be difficult to keep up with. This is exquisitely the case for musicians.
However, it doesn’t have to be like this.
This article will explore 5 common social media issues musicians face—and the solutions.
Problem: Social media platforms can be a distraction.
Too much time spent on social media disallows musicians from the crucial task at hand: Curating or playing music. The wasted time you spent on your phone scrolling through short videos or discovering what friends are doing on the platform is valuable time that could be spent writing and recording music. It’s incredibly easy to allow social media to pull you away from what’s important—and over the course of an extended period—leave musicians behind.
New archetype: Shift the relationship you have with social media.
Make it a focus to put more into social media—and get more from it in return—than it takes away from you.
Ensure you are always posting your musical content before comparing yourself to another creator’s work. You should certainly spend more time interacting with your fans and followers than mindlessly scrolling. Discover which aspects of your content people are connecting with before engaging other user’s posts.
Social media is exactly that: social. Much like a great conversation or encounter at a party, you must give as much as everyone else there or more to receive something worthwhile back. Or else you are the wallflower using up all the social oxygen but gasping for air.
Problem: I’m unable to stay up to date on social media.
Vine. Snapchat. TikTok.
What’s the next social media platform to blow up?
Every single new platform comes with its own individual set of guidelines, learning curve, account management, passwords, and more. How does a musician who isn’t a social media guru stay up to speed?
New archetype: Don’t freestyle. Stick to what you know and are skilled at.
I don’t mean to demoralize you from attempting new methods. If you’re ready to get started, then by all means you should go for it!
Although, if you’ve been sharing concert pictures on Instagram and your followers enjoy them, don’t quit posting to Instagram altogether and switch over to the next TikTok. Contrarily, you may dabble with a new social channel while you continue to manage and facilitate your fan base on Instagram. You could even consider evolving your Instagram feed to include Reels or Stories to further connect with your current follower base.
When it comes to social media, it isn’t a game of one or the other. It’s what comes next.
Problem: Social media isn’t going to construct my career.
Unfortunately, you aren’t Lady Gaga.
With this in mind, what is it that social media can do for you?
It’s easy to think unless you have engagement numbers at superstar levels, it is not going to aid in the construction of your music career.
New archetype: Don’t fake it until you make it. Allow you to be authentic you.
Big-time artists who have the ability to initiate large-scale TikTok campaigns to promote their content aren’t getting it done all themselves, although it may seem like it. They use their public relations and social media teams to calculate all aspects of their social campaigns.
It goes without saying an independent artist like yourself doesn’t have a team to create, post, advertise, and amplify social content for you. You should not view this in a negative light. Rather, you should see it as an advantage because if you make and post content on your own, your followers recognize it and enjoy that your social media mouthpiece is your own.
Ensure the videos and other content you post on social are uniquely you. Don’t attempt to be anyone but yourself. Your followers will see through it and hold it against you.
Don’t forget: Your followers engage with you because they like you.
Problem: My mental health is jeopardized by being online.
Numerous studies have found large amounts of time spent on social media platforms posting content and absorbing it deters stable mental health. This is the intrinsic reality for musicians. The ever-present stress of needing to create original content—and the reaction of negative replies therein—can burden users with unavoidable stress.
New archetype: Gain perspective and realize social media is not your everything.
A sizable portion of social media’s grip on mental health comes from the notion that it is inherently social. We are social animals, and we compare ourselves to others to calculate where and how we stack up. It’s the reason we use social media to post articles of content and receive feedback by way of likes, comments, heart icons, and other social representations.
The reality: At its core, social media isn’t truly as “social” as we make it out to be. It’s a more hyper realized version of the regular world because it gives users the ability to wear a mask and stand behind their social personas instead of their real ones. People are more inclined to act as mean girls online than they are in real life due to there being few or no consequences for being anti-social or negative online.
This is why it’s absolutely crucial not to take social media at face value. See it for what it is: An artificial and extreme personification of life. Don’t dwell on the negative, instead see the positive response you receive when you post your art. The large majority of the responses you will encounter is likely positive. At the end of the day, those who follow you are your fans. Ignore the negativity and deter them from interacting with your social media activity.
Problem: Social media could be an unsustainable fad.
Groundbreaking social media platform MySpace? Gone.
Facebook: Decline in activity.
Twitter: Who posts and responds anymore?
Musicians making content for social media are often afraid that the accumulated content could all dissipate and be unable to stand the test of time. Consider all the MySpace posts—and followers—that evaporated into the obscure. This leaves many content creators pondering if posting content on social media is worthwhile in the grand scheme of it all. After all, their followers and their posts could be deleted in the blink of an eye, just like many found out with MySpace.
New archetype: Don’t predicate your connection with fans to a single channel.
Social media platforms are a simple and easy avenue to stay connected with followers. Be sure not to rely on a single platform, like Instagram, to be the only means you have or use to connect with fans. Use several platforms, in addition to email and text messages. Inspire fans to add you on your other social profiles and to be a member of your email and SMS lists.
In conclusion: use your social media reach sensibly.
Your new archetype for social media operation is that you should be the one to control its direction. It cannot and should not control your direction.
Here are examples of how to ensure that happens:
Now, take charge of your connection with your fans, and don’t allow social media the power to get you down.
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Please watch these quick videos about audition preparation, stage fright/mistakes, and learning new music. All State Band music and other honor band audition music will be coming out soon, but preparing for these auditions start now!
This article is a great resource to help review the concepts we have discussed in lessons!
ClarinetFest® 2019 will take place in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA, July 24-28. Artistic Director Victor Chavez Jr. and the Artistic Leadership Team – Gary Sperl, Robert Walzel, Vanguel Tangarov and Jessica Harrie – will present a conference titled “Embracing the World.” The conference will be presented in partnership with the University of Tennessee.
ClarinetFest® 2019 will be held in the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center, Student Union Building, and Alumni Memorial Building on the campus of the University of Tennessee. The conference will feature performances by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra among others. The facilities will provide ample conference space for events and exhibits.
Three host hotels will be available for the duration of the conference. Additionally plenty of hotels are situated within walking distance of the conference venues.
The city of Knoxville is located at the foothills of the beautiful Smoky Mountains and has a lot to offer in terms of shopping, entertainment and dining. The wider region is also known for tourist attractions such as Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains National Park.
SELECT OPTION 3B FOR ICA MEMBERSHIP ($20-HIGH SCHOOL & YOUNGER)
THEN SELECT REGISTER ONLINE NOW AND VIEW THE YOUTH EVENT OPTIONS (PAYMENT OPTIONS VARY)
ClarinetFest® 2019 High School Day
High School and Middle School students can receive a free one-day all-access pass to attend any performance, lecture or exhibit on Saturday, July 27. Students do not need to be members of the ICA to take advantage of this offer. Students under the age of 18 must be registered by a legal guardian and must be accompanied by an adult chaperone on the day of the event. Deadline to register is Friday, July 19.