Sometimes I think back to the moments when, as a teenager, I dreamed of a career as a musician. Though at that time I had no idea how I would do it, I believed with all my heart and spirit in the success of my actions. Already at that stage, I had a lot of beliefs about what the life of a full-time musician is like. Have they turned out to be real?
I WILL DO WHAT I LOVE
Few things give me as much joy in life as music. There is little that I hate as much.
Before you think that I should probably start some appropriate psychiatric treatment, let me unfold the plot. When you start your adventure with the instrument, usually the only expectations regarding the level of performance are your own. You focus on what turns you on and what you like best. With time, you start working with other people, and the better people, the more they expect of you. This is very good for development, but you can easily find yourself in a situation where you do not have enough time to pursue your own visions. It happens that for many days I simply do not want to reach for the guitar, and when I force myself, nothing constructive comes out of it. The problem is that some deadlines in the schedule cannot be changed, so I sit down to work and don’t get up until I’m finished. Deep down I love music, but I honestly hate it at the moment.
Passion is often born in pain, but just like true love, it is with you no matter what the circumstances. There’s nothing wrong with not playing with the same amount of commitment every day. The world doesn’t like monotony.
I WILL NOT WORK A DAY
Anyone who has ever been interested in any form of self-development has heard this sentence once. “Doing what you love, you won’t work a single day.” I admit, I got caught up in it myself. The truth is, however, that the profession of a musician are not only moments full of inspiration and elation. Sometimes you play a program that doesn’t really turn you on (or it’s stopped because you’re playing it for the 173 time). Sometimes you spend several hours on the bus to find out that the organizer “did not have time” to organize the agreed promotion, and one person came to the concert. It happens that you spend several hours of work to prepare for a replacement, which ultimately does not work out. I won’t even mention marketing, fundraising and various aspects of self-promotion.
Although I love literally every aspect of being a musician, not everyone is equally enthusiastic. I love what I do, but I strive for specific results.
When you start to have precise expectations about your artistic and market level, you enter the professional path. From now on, you will do what is most appropriate for your future career, which is not necessarily what would be easiest for you at the moment. It’s a job and you better get used to it.
I WILL DESTINY PASSION AND THE MONEY WILL COME
I’m a bad salesman, it’s hard for me to talk about finances. Usually, I prefer to focus on what I really care about – the music. The fact is, in the end, everyone cares about their own interests. There are no concerts – no money. No material – no concerts. There are no rehearsals, no material, etc. During the years of my musical activity I have met many “artists”. They are great to talk to, play, create, but not necessarily do business, and whether we like it or not, we work in the service industry and offer our skills to others for money, and this requires an understanding of fundamental business principles. Of course, there are exceptions – extremely talented geniuses who come under the wing of a good manager. However, I think that this is a negligible percentage of actually working musicians.
Do not wait for a gift from fate, reach for it yourself.
YOU JUST GO TO THE TOP
Before I achieved my first serious successes in music, I believed that when I reached the top, I would just stay there. Unfortunately. I fell many times, and the higher I aimed, the more it hurt. But with time I got used to it and I learned that it is just like that. One day you have more ridge than you can handle, another day you are looking for odd jobs to pay the bills. Should I aim lower? Maybe, but I don’t even take it into account. Standards change over time and what was once a dream goal is now the starting point.
Determination is all you need. Just do your job.
I WILL BE THE BEST IN THE WORLD
I will get a scholarship at Berklee, do a PhD in jazz, record over a hundred records, be the most sought-after musician in the world, and guitarists of all latitudes will learn my solos. Today I think that many people start with such a vision of their future and it is this vision that is the source of the first motivation for strenuous exercise. It is probably an individual matter, but life priorities change with age. It is by no means a matter of losing faith, but of changing life priorities. Competing with others only works up to a point, and over time it limits more than it helps. The more that the whole scheme takes place only in your head.
You are the best in the world, just like any other person. Just believe it and focus on what’s most important to you in the long term. Don’t build value on external benchmarks (I’m cool because I played X shows), but on how much heart you put into playing the next one. Here and now counts.
Although at times I probably sound like a racial, unfulfilled skeptic, discouraging young, aspiring players, even in the slightest extent, is not my intention. Music surprises me every day, both positively and negatively. Still, it’s my way of life, and I believe it will stay that way. Regardless of whether you decide to follow this path as well, or you will find a completely different way to pursue your musical aspirations, I wish you joy and fulfillment.