Being a musician is a funny thing. We all could pick up a guitar or sit by a piano for a few months and technically become pretty decent at it, even without a bunch of formal education.
The majority of people actually fall into a range that would technically group them into the percentage of the population that has the ability to process music correctly.
Contrary to popular belief, most people have the basics needed in order to become good musicians. Sean Hutchins, director of research for the Royal Conservatory, said to The Guardian, "Only around 2 percent of the human population doesn't possess the skills needed to determine the right pitch to perform a song."
You may be wondering, if 98% of the population in the world can become a great music artist, then why are there prodigies and certain few people that are referred to as the greatest of all time?
It really boils down to a few different key elements that include passion, consistency, good marketing, and the ability to stand out among the many others in the world who are gifted in the music world.
No matter what instrument you try to study, you can always learn the basics if you need to start from scratch. You could also start a little further, depending on your past journey as a musician.
Finding music lessons can be much easier when you know where to look. There are four main things you want to consider for your search. Once you figure out these things, you can find what's the best fit for your individual needs.
You can find a local music teacher through a service like TakeLessons. Sites like these sites allow you to find professionals online that are currently available for new clients.
Finding a local or online school that offers music courses is optimal for those looking to learn how to sing or play an instrument as an adult. It's my top recommendation for getting effective results and using the completion of these courses to your advantage.
Finding a private teacher that offers in-person or virtual lessons is a great choice for those who are also learning the ins and outs of music. A private virtual teacher can get to know you personally and meet your needs.
A virtual teacher is also a good idea for someone who can consistently meet with their teacher weekly to work on their musical skill, but you can be a little less strict with your meeting times.
This is the best option for those living in an area with limited access to teachers and classes they can choose.
Finding a virtual music teacher to provide you with a prerecorded training program is a solid choice for those who are also learning to write music. It's a great choice if you cannot afford a private teacher or local class to go to.
You can find a good songwriting and singer lesson program through a service like Singorama Songwriter. Programs like this allow you to find professionals online that are currently available for anyone.
Studying the best musicians, singers, and songwriters online is a good idea, but they won't be able to tell you the technical must-haves regarding music theory and education. Learning the building blocks of your career is always a great idea.
Ear training and notation can get very complex, so I'm sure there are new things for you to uncover in the theory side of it all. Learning music theory concepts can help take your creativity to the next level and help you gain a unique edge in the industry.
While many people learn and utilize music theory concepts like 1 4 5 1 in a chord progression, you could be having complex progressions in your head that can be catchy and never-before-heard in your genre.
Related Post: The Best Music Theory Books For Beginners
If you're in a popular city, you may be able to find local workshops that have hundreds or thousands of musicians that gather to learn from each other and network.
This is a great choice for intermediate and advanced music artists seeking motivation and great learning experiences.
A workshop is also a good idea for someone who can't consistently meet with a teacher every week and can only dedicate a few weeks to a few months total.
It's also a wise choice for those who don't have a large budget set aside to do music lessons over a long period of time. You can network with other creatives that are interested in writing music.
It's always a good idea to create with other musicians in your area or with a virtual collaboration to get new ideas and perspectives you would have never seen on your own.
Shedding, freestyling, or writing music with friends can be a very fun process, in addition to giving you a chance to make your song as appealing as possible! It's also obviously an amazing way to gain experience over time.
Working collaboratively can also help your networking and career opportunities in general. If you're a singer or instrumentalist used to writing or performing on your own, step out of your shell and try something new.
You may still prefer to write independently after the experience, but you will appreciate the process and learn about a whole new set of pros and cons when doing a group project.
To increase your chances of landing gigs, you want to ensure you have what is needed to be an appealing hiring candidate.
You want to be experienced already before you start going after gigs so that you will perform well in a studio and/or live performance setting.
Make sure you have previous work experience you can clearly show to your potential clients in the future. Showing audio and video as a part of a demo reel for your previous musical work is a great idea.
Be sure that you have a bio and high-quality photos in addition to your audio and visual content.
Consider putting your information together in an EPK. An EPK (Electronic Press Kit) is an organized way to put together your artist information, including contact info, recent shows, awards, placements, visual media, and recent audio releases.
Having an EPK to present to your potential clients shows that you know your stuff and are ready to start a professional relationship that can benefit both sides.
In general, a musician can go after four types of gigs. Depending on your skill, comfortability level, and need for cash, you may want to focus on finding 1 or 2 of the four types of gigs for indie and unsigned artists.
Low Pay, Low Exposure Gigs - These types are the easiest to secure and are a great place to start if you are looking to build experience for opportunities down the line. Gigs like these include lowkey bars, open mic nights, and the like.
Low Pay, High Exposure Gigs - These gigs are great for those looking to get fans in their area and build a buzz. Performances like these include family events, popular bars, clubs, and some singing competitions.
High Pay, Low Exposure Gigs - These are the 'best-kept secret' styled gigs that usually include prestigious, small events like fundraisers, in-studio work, and backup vocalist gigs.
High Pay, High Exposure Gigs - Once you've honed your craft, you'll get access to high-quality gigs, including opening for major acts, being a featured artist at large functions, and similar scenarios.
Sign up for Freelance sites like Fiverr, Airgigs, and Vocalizr once you feel like you are ready to take things to a professional level and work on other people's projects.
Start your pricing on the low side to gain experience on these platforms and build up a lot of positive ratings from clients.
When it comes to getting leads and potential clients in the freelance music world, you will want to learn how to talk to people in a way that's appropriate for a B2B type of relationship, which means you'll need to also put your marketing and customer service hat on!
I have had a lot of success advertising my singing and songwriting on sites like Fiverr. I highly recommend them and have made thousands with them so far, and I see a lot of other musicians having massive success with them as well!
Your networking and promotion skills will need to be good to succeed as a booked musician. Many talented singers and instrumentalists can't find success in the music world simply because they don't know how to or don't want to market themselves properly.
If you aren't putting yourself out there with ads and networking, how will you be able to secure enough gigs to pay your bills?
When it comes to getting leads and potential clients in the music world, you will have to learn how to talk to people in a way that's appropriate for a B2B type of relationship.
This can include the need for patience, very clean and concise info regarding the small details, and assuring people that you are a good fit for their project.
Consider finding a music manager and/or booking agent that will also help you in the advertising and marketing department to give you a steady flow of gigs.
A cool way to gain professionalism, build your brand, and make money in songwriting is to enter your songs into music-related contests.
If you're amazingly gifted, you have an advantage over the thousands of submissions that get sent to popular recurring contests like The John Lennon Songwriting Contest and The International Songwriting Competition.
These contests have first-prize awards as high as $50,000 with trusted business coordinators that have been paying songwriters for decades.
Take a chance and enter your best work to see if you can win a cash prize. Just make sure your songs are really great songs!
Many other contests in the music world can include remix competitions, beat-making challenges, sing-offs, and so much more. A quick Google search can direct you to international and local opportunities to submit your songs to.
IndieBible is one of the many musician resource sites with thousands of venue, label, and manager contacts available for those seeking more paid work in the music industry.
They keep their resource list regularly updated, so it's a pretty great tool if you have the time to do some DIY outreach of your own.
These connections, including radio shows, blogs, labels, and managers, do get tons of emails from other music makers as well, but it's worth a try.
This is where a strong EPK and high level of talent/appeal will come in handy for landing gigs among the many other artists and bands out there looking for a shot!
Churches are always looking for performers to help in services. The church setting is not only a great place to practice, but it can turn into a paid gig opportunity if you are a talented musician who can consistently work at services and rehearsals weekly.
For church gigs, instrumentalists tend to get paid before singers do, but some congregations pay section leaders to sing solos and help guide other choir members in the right direction for services.
I've held a paid position as an alto soloist/section leader for over five years!
Local open mics and even karaoke bars can also be a great way to get in front of an audience and work on your performance skills.
The audience here will be a step up in terms of difficulty from a church or family event since it will likely be you performing in front of a bunch of strangers.
This also can provide you with a great networking opportunity depending on your location, your talent level, and the types of people you will find in the audience. It's a good idea to keep business cards handy for someone who may need a performer for an event.
Many event promoters and companies put out social media posts to announce they are looking for new acts to work with.
You could also try to put out posts yourself, letting people in your network know that you are on the hunt for paid gigs to work in your area.
You'd be surprised who a status update could connect you to, especially if you already have a fair amount of musicians on your pages! Just be sure to look into background information and get referrals when considering opportunities you find.
Related Post: Paid Ads And Social Media Marketing For Musicians
As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 300 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!
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