2020 has tested us and made us work even harder to keep creating. Unfortunately some excellent venues have caved under the financial pressure, and we will hold memories of playing there forever. Many other industries have been disrupted so we as creators and music makers are not alone, and we don’t stand alone. Whilst things may have changed, music remains the same and brings meaning to the world around us.
So, here we talk about 8 simple rules to live by as a musician.
Get out the notes from your subconscious. Play whatever it is you want to play. There does not need to be a purpose for the playing – allow the weight of trying to be signed or to impress somebody drift from you, and simply play. It is when we are our most authentic selves that we can have fun with music and really connect. Why be anyone else? You’ll rob the world of your essence. Whether you’re in your room, or with a friend or a band mate – or on stage, just play. Musicians are born. We play because music is part of who we are.
If you’re feeling up to a live stream, see our guide here.
2. Be authentic
Allowing ourselves to be authentic is extremely freeing. And you know what? Others can tell when we’re being fake. It can be seen a mile away. Stay true to yourself and a weird thing will happen…it will give others the permission to be true to themselves as well. Sure a whole lot of people wander about the world being fake but we can side step them easily enough. Be authentic and you will attract others that are authentic.
3. Share with others
Play in groups and say yes to jam sessions with new people. You’ll get to see how they write, or how they play that favourite song of yours. Best part is creativity will increase. Ever got home from band practice or a jam session and felt so tired yet so energised all at once? You start thinking of different ways to record your next song, of how to sing a certain melody to make it better, and all manner of wondrous things. Your frequency has been lifted. Jam sessions and group recordings etc are some of the best and fastest ways to improve creativity and your mood! And they can definitely still be done digitally for anyone not able to meet people in person.
4. Release your music
Fear is an interesting thing when it comes to music. It never really helps. A little sprinkle of it is normal before going on stage or playing in front of new people. But a truck load of it can stunt our growth. It stops us from releasing new music because we are afraid of what will be said about it, or what won’t be said about it. None of the associated internal dialogue is productive. You can bet your bottom dollar most of what we make up in our minds (out of fear) does not happen. Get out of your own way and release your music. We want to hear it.
5. Be kind
Be kind to yourself first. We heard somewhere (from generations passed, and also flight safety videos) that when we take care of ourselves first, we will be able to take care of others. When we are kind to ourselves first….you get the drift. It’s sometimes too easy to employ negative self talk, and to self deprecate. That’s a slippery slope. Change it up and imagine all of the horrible things you’ve said to yourself you now have to say to another person. You probably wouldn’t do that right? Now, reset and talk to yourself as you would someone you care about. Eventually you’ll have enough emotional currency to spend on another. In this music industry there are many push backs and ‘no’s’ and rejections. It’s tough – we know this. Take a breather after a rejection, be kind to yourself, and move forward again. Remember, those firing out the rejections are not often nasty people. They are doing a job and someone wins, someone loses. They are just the messenger in a lot of situations.
6. Stand up for yourself
Do not put up with nonsense. If someone tries to cut you a bad deal, stay true to yourself and negotiate for better. If there is no room for negotiation – walk away. Respecting yourself is number one. Knowing the rules of the game is helpful so you can spot when things are ‘off’. To get you started we’ve got some articles you might want to check out:
7. Support live venues and other artists
If you don’t know all the live music venues and promoters in your area, make this a priority. Go to live shows at least once a week or fortnight (when venues are open). Usually local shows are free, we’re not asking you to pay out money you might not have. What is needed, is support. Go buy a drink or juice at the bar as a way of supporting the venue. Share posts from promoters about live events. Talk to the artists who play and stream them on Spotify, watch a YouTube video of theirs and follow them on social media. That’s free and very helpful to artists. Bring a friend for night out so there are more people in the audience. Of course ask the venue or promoter if you can play one night. Venues need artists and artists need venues. In case you missed it earlier, here is some live gig etiquette as an artist.
8. Ask for help
Whatever you are struggling with, ask for help. It could be you don’t know how to book a gig – ask another musician on Instagram. If you’ve seen they’ve played a venue you want to play, ask them how they did it. If you are not sure about the recording process and need guidance, call a local studio and speak with the engineer. Ask if you can sit in on a session (and remain polite and only talk when it’s ok to). It’s good to offer something in exchange, if you can. This might be playing as a session musician in studio in exchange for the engineer teaching you about the recording process (or in exchange for recording time…you never know). There are people who have the answer to a question of yours. And vice versa, we’re sure someone has asked you for help with something you knew the answer to. No such thing as a silly question. Apparently, if we don’t ask we don’t get.
Ask us too. We’re here to answer questions, and here for you.