Being a musician is a dream for many people, from kids first picking up a recorder in school, to forty year old mums, wistfully thinking of digging out the old guitar from the back of the garage. It’s not as easy as dreaming about it, though, and few people can stroll their way to superstardom without a lot of planning, hard work and good luck.
The first step on your journey is decide what sort of musician you want to be. It’s not as simple as picking an instrument and walking into a recording studio. If your dream is to play in a band you need to find people to work with, and make sure you can hold your own in discussions without being argumentative. Preserving a creative, fun working relationship with your band mates is vital.
Less creative but more stable is life as a session musician, providing your musical talents for hire when creative artists need backing tracks, or recording soundtrack music for films or television productions.
Those of a more classical bent will find practice and dedication to craft even more important than for others. Classical music has a more dedicated training programme with conservatories specialising in the instruction of classical techniques available for the elite. This leads into progression through the ranks of an orchestra, as well smaller projects. The hierarchical nature of classical suits those with a structured mindset, and is the closest the musical world comes to a traditional job.
Whatever route you follow into a musical career, you will also need some professional support, as well as mastery of your instrument. Many bands benefit from a manager, which takes the administrative burden of booking gigs away from the band members, leaving them free to concentrate on rehearsal and writing, and also gives them a figurehead to negotiate improved fees.
Other useful contacts to have are experienced music lawyers. Musicians have to deal with a great deal of contracts and agreements, covering individual gigs, licensing agreements to allow their music to be used in other media and even being signed by a label.
Having a trained and experienced lawyer look over these agreements before signing is vitally important for musicians, going beyond ensuring they a get fair deal in the moment. A band’s music is their lifeblood and greatest asset. Making sure they remain in control of when it is used, and getting fairly paid for it is the most vital service a lawyer can perform for a musician.