We're a fair chunk in to 2017 now huh? Moving closer to Spring and well clear of good ol' January - a month that can sometimes be a trying time for a musician. While it's a great month to get some practice in and set some goals, if January were a train ticket, it wouldn't even qualify for Super Off-Peak status. Not even Super Duper Off-Peak. I mean, it's so off peak the train guards are ushering people on to the train for free just so they look busy. Touring can be sparse, festivals are months away, and it sure as heck isn't packed full of those bread-and-butter events: corporate, wedding, or otherwise.
Well it was one of those practice; email; plan; repeat months for me. But has this been a problem? No. In fact it's been really useful. Which is why over the duration of this weekly blog series (with a new post every Wednesday) I want to talk about not just surviving as a musician, but actually a earning decent, liveable income - and planning around those times when your monthly income looks like a weekly shopping budget. It's about aiming for much more than just surviving.
Do you want to seriously, actually do this? Like for real be a musician? Well it's time get down to some serious graft...immediately. We're going to be going through the real stuff; some examples being:
- Funding your life as a musician & living in a city.
- Building your career in a brand new 2017-shaped music industry.
- Not always being broke, and having enough dosh left over to actually save and pay your taxes.
The first part of my Musician's Survival Guide will take you through the Seven Deadly Skills. Not really that deadly per se...but hell you'll remember it better and it sounds super cool. They're basically seven absolutely crucial stand-alone skills, characteristics and traits that we'll be going through in detail. "What the Brad-Pitt are you talking about Ben?" I hear you not ask. Well, I started by asking myself exactly what I, and all successful working musicians, MDs, and bassists (wheyyy!) I know do in order to generate and crucially maintain work. It wont be too literal though, and while I will be delving in to specific, tangible things that you can use, there will be more of an emphasis on way-of-thinking. The following seven posts will dive deep in to each stand-alone topic, taking you through the steps to improve with each one. If you get good at all of 'em, then you'll be absolutely smashing it in no time.
CHECK BACK IN EVERY WEDNESDAY FOR EACH NEW POST
A final thought before we get cracking next week.
I'm going to try my best to avoid those overly familiar things we're used to hearing as a musician. Network! Hustle! Contacts! Chops! Work hard! I want to keep this fresh. I want to make it something that you can actually take away from perhaps thinking, "I haven't thought of it like that before", or "that's a new way to approach things", or "well Ben was chatting total crap there".
Whatever you think, welcome to the music industry, and welcome to my 2017 Musician's Survival Guide...it's going to be a bumpy ride. *Fades up Hotel California and cross fades to silhouetted sunset shot of aviator-wearing man-with-guitar walking toward camera on dusty highway looking sweet af*