The career path of a musician can be pretty difficult. I was reminded of this last weekend when visiting a favorite hangout which serves decent food, good drinks, and the occasional band. This night, the band was rather excellent, playing cover songs like “Free Bird” from southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. What made it a bit sad was the obvious talent of the band coupled with the low crowd attendance. One can imagine the possibilities of the band with the right opportunities and luck.
Most musicians probably do not have that planning session where they consider the benefits and downsides of their chosen career. Being that it can be a tought road, here are some things to consider before you decide to be a musician:
- You will not have a “real” job with a steady salary
- First prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Second prize is a set of steak knives.
- Forget health insurance
- No boss (could be a good and a bad thing)
- No one is out there waiting to discover you
- Working hard is hardly a guarantee of any success
There are also numerous activities that go into being a musician that you will not get compensated for. These are things like:
- The hours of practice
- Years of doing above to make it seem “easy”
- Research time spent on music instruments such as guitars or even a microphone
- Endless hours on the phone trying to get the next gig or talking to people to make it happen
- Visits to the clubs or with club owners and lunches trying to get the job
- Years of music lessons, band practice, and frustations that go hand-in-hand
- Frustration of making things work on a short-notice
- The stress that goes along with having equiptment or instruments fail during performances
- Endless work of other people trying to help you promote via: website, home made CDs, t-shirts, cards, etc.
So why consider a career as a musician?
- The love of music
- The crowd and the fans
- Inspire and motivate others through your work
It was pretty obvious from the band that night that they loved what they did. It showed in their talent and effortless musical skills. Their cold-hard cash payment for that night’s work was probably dismal. Their real payment was the crowd’s genuine admiration and respect for the band at having their classic songs played by a band worthy of playing them.