How To Go From A 9-5 to Being A Full Time Musician
It is not easy to drop what might be for you a comfortable steady paying job and delve into being a full time musician but is not at all impossible. That is a decision that requires an evaluation of what you want, what your level of risk is a good solid plan that has room for growth and change as needed. There is no one right way of making this switch but I would suggest if at all possible to find a mentor to help you along the way. If that's not possible then read as much as you can about being a full time musician and figure out if this would be the best move for you.
When making the transition from your traditional 9 to 5 job to Full Time Musician, keep a few highly important things in mind.
1. Clear Cut Decisions
The best way to position yourself to do something successfully and long term is to decide that it is something you want to do. I don't mean to just say, "this might be a cool idea." I mean you must make a clear and concrete decision that Being a Full Time Musician is what you want to do. You really have to want it because everything outside of you performing is the REAL hard work and you need to have it in your mind that this is absolutely what you want to do. Just that declaration to yourself will help push you through some hard times and guide you through some obstacles that will inevitably occur. Allow yourself the opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and be a full time musician if music is calling you and you know without a shadow of a doubt that's what you want to do.
2. Perfect Your Skill
You may be very talented as you are right now but imagine just how much more of a bad ass you would be if you perfected your skill even .0009%. That could be the difference between coffee house and a full performing arts center or the difference between S.O.B.'s and a sold out show at Madison Square Garden. Have more than natural talent, be a master of your talent!
Listen and study different genres of music. Take vocal, guitar or drum lessons. Take some time to get inspired by other artists and pay attention to how their music sounds. Ask them what they are doing to achieve that sound, whether its a particular piece of equipment or a specific technique they incorporate. Rehearse and write until you can not do it wrong. Do everything in your power to get you music down perfectly. Make the mistakes while you are not in front of people.
3. Diversity Is QUEEN!
Think of some of your favorite musicians and everything they do or have done in the music business. I sing with musicians who are in multiple bands and teach. I myself have my own music outside of my cover band, run a youtube channel and have a plethora of other music related things going on. There are other musicians I know or have come across in my travels and work who seem to live in studios, throw events and more.
Try your hand at a few things. Make a list of things you'd like to do and start trying them! Take every opportunity that comes your way, unless of course every hair on your body tells you its dangerous lol. You never know what idea or bigger opportunity may come your way because of some seemingly unimportant gig. Just keep in mind that there are no right or wrong answers in regard to what you can do to be a full time musician and that is a part of the beauty. Your options are as many as your imagination.
Have You Thought of Being a Full Time Musician?
4. Be Active
In no way does this mean think of some things you would like to do and wish them to happen! Be active in your pursuit of your new career move. Seek out opportunities for what you want and if there are none, figure out how to make one.
Go to shows with other artists, sign up for an open mic, ask to sit in on a song and engage! It is up to you to get the ball rolling and once you do all you have to do is keep the momentum. Keep going out and meeting new musicians, promoters and the like and support others. Get to know the musical communities that match your sound and what you want to do with your music. These are your peers so get to know them and build a partnership where you help each other!
This is most often the best way to build a solid reputation and keep a full schedule. Just do really remember to not use people. Networking happens when two or more parties connect in order to benefit each other. Don't hog information or opportunities when you hear them, share them. I don't mean give away your jobs either but if you have 2 available gigs, offer the one you're not taking to someone else. If you have a brilliant idea for a project for someone else that you might be able to orchestrate, present it to them offering your services.
5. Let nothing stop you
Be fearless in your pursuit! You will hear the word no in various forms many more times then you will get a yes. Keep moving! Figure out why you received a no. If you were looking to perform at a venue and they denied you look at all the things they look for. Do they have bands pack the house with their followers and you don't have any right now? Are they only booking your particular genre of music on a Thursday and you want a Saturday set? Is your material professionally done or was it recorded on your computer microphone, you have no website or social networks and no real marketing?
Look objectively at what you are doing and perfect it. Do give anyone a reason to tell you no. That way if you do, you can always go back and ask them again or decide to move on for something better. Don't let any type of obstacle stop you, you may get some speed bumps but don't confuse them with stop signs. If band members flake, get new ones. If one place doesn't want to book you this year, build to get there or an even better venue. But do not let anything stop you!
Keep in mind that most “overnight successes” are years in the making in many industries, especially the music industry. The Beatles spent years performing 8 hr sets, 7 days per week in Germany before they broke into the American market.
© 2013 msLarayne