1. The Value of an Education
(Book Smarts and Street Smarts)
This chapter concentrates on the importance of a formal education. Finding out what school is best for you is important. Trying to get a scholarship to pay for tuition is also part of getting the education you need and want. One should prepare long before entering higher education. Your grades and connections and references will help to make this goal possible. Attending seminars to hear professionals speak and to meet others in your field is crucial. This can save money in phone calls, mailings, and computer time finding professionals that can help you along your path.
Studying privately is a very under-rated activity in education. Many musicians think that a few lessons from someone will give them the edge. Well, that is like reading the Table of Contents of a book and saying you understand everything in it. First, you must find the right teacher. One must study for a length of time to understand the system of a teacher and the routine. This takes years. Teachers are invaluable because they are taking their years of teaching and passing it on in a few years. This chapter stresses the positive and negatives of private lessons. The environment is very important to the lesson as well as knowing how to practice. Concentrated studies at conservatories and institutes of higher learning specializing in music are important to many musicians. This can be costly. This chapter helps to understand the costs and mental dealings, but most of all teaches to not let school interfere with your education.
2. Goals and Abilities
(Do You Know Where You Are Going? - Finding Out What You Can Do)
This chapter consists of setting goals and achieving them. One never reaches anything without setting goals, even if you are just going to get groceries or go to the cleaners. You have to plan in order to see your path and to achieve your end goal, which is to succeed. Goal setting is not only a strategy but also an art. To stick with it means to write down and look at them daily. Posting them and keeping a log is way of tracking your progress. If you do not write goals down you will not follow them. There are several types of goals: Short Term - Short Long Term - Long Term – Future. By following these goals one will find out that goals can be achieved not only with a watchful eye but also with patience and maturity. Planning and scheduling your day-to-day chores is easy to see with a planner in hand. When it comes to goals it seems like we talk about them or plant them in our minds thinking we are going to achieve them and stay on track. Write them down!
This chapter concentrates on the musician’s awareness of skills. Most musicians either question their abilities or go in overly confident. Knowing your abilities is the reality that a player or performer must face. It’s one thing to have confidence but to think you have “arrived” and think there is no room for improvement is the road away from success. It is like going into a situation unprepared. What are you willing to do? A performer must know what his or her strong points are, expand on them as well as correct weaknesses. Many musicians take a job they are not quite prepared for. Make sure you develop yourself and do not take a job until you are confident and have the skills to pull it off. One can spend years trying to erase your performance that is stuck in the minds of other players. Many recollect the first time they heard or saw you. This refers to not having too many bad days in a young career.
3. Personal Contacts
(The Business of Friends and Knowing Others)
The goal of this chapter shows how to make lifelong contacts. Many find this crucial in the business. Knowing people and people knowing you. Without contacts you are just a name. Contacts start as early as grade school and straight into College and beyond. One must develop people skills to start new relationships and keep building contacts. Accruing recommendations and keeping a clean slate are difficult but for the most part one must keep this in the forefront of a career. Players with half the ability of a virtuoso work all the time because they have a good reputation and are easy to work with, therefore, they have many contacts. Many contacts go back years and are personal contacts. Don’t underestimate long-term friendships and reputation.
Business Contacts (Building a Team)
These contacts turn into relationships from working together and building up trust over the years. The business contact is the one that incorporates managers, contractors, conductors, as well as booking agents, club owners and, most of all, your peers. Later on you can get an agent or manager and an attorney. One should always be prepared to send out updated information to new contacts. Many ask for your info on the spot, because out of sight is out of mind and people tend to move on quickly if you do not stay on top of the meeting opportunity. Great contacts start with a quick meeting, a handshake and a business card. These contacts use your professional reputation not old friendships to fill their ranks. It is very important to keep these people happy when you work because they too talk to other business contacts looking for reliable people. Like Quincy Jones said, “I can get you the first call, it’s up to you to get the second one.”
(How to Sell Yourself, and Not Sell Yourself Short)
This chapter consists of marketing ones skills and getting your name out there. Marketing is probably the hardest things one can do because this means you are your own publicist, agent, manager, and product. Musicians sometimes look at this as being self-centered. This is what a person that represents you has to do. If you were standing next to them while they did their job, talking you up, you would surely blush. Marketing is what sells the product. Without the sell there is the blind hope that someone either hears or sees you by chance. You are selling a package: yourself. This includes getting photos taken and a whole makeover if need be. Photos are a must, along with a good resume, website and a press kit. If you are a guest artist with a band the promoters usually asks for a short bio to put in a program along with a photo. Having a demo of some kind either video or audio is wise to have on hand. This chapter shows how to put it all together fast, inexpensively and professionally. Marketing tips are the key to putting together a career and making sure it stays in the forefront. It also shows how to present your demos to potential clients and other musicians that may refer you. Without the selling of a product it just sits on a shelf.
5. Setting up the Office
(Use Workspace and Technology to Build, Maintain and Grow)
This chapter helps a musician to get his business tools together. We have to have tools in order to do our job. Well if we were mechanics and didn’t have a screwdriver we would not be able to get the job done. As a musician one has to have an office. In that office we need everything that a businessperson has to conduct business. If you are fortunate enough to have an office in your home it makes it easier. But the same tasks can be done with a small desk or area. When conducting business there are certain things one should have like a telephone, fax and a computer. E-mail is the communication source of choice today. It’s quick and saves money. When these business tools became available, musicians went right for them. This made our booking much easier and professional. This chapter shows how to use the tools effectively.
6. Booking Jobs
(Building Bookings & Clientele)
This chapter is what it’s all about, how to get jobs. This is a constant building of contacts that will never be completed. A musician is always trying to build bookings. There are always new people coming on the scene needing musicians to play or work for them. Therefore, one must always stay on top of this. A person, 18 years old today, may have no significance now, but in 10 years he or she may have written an Oscar-winning score for a hit movie. Many musicians want to find a niche and work it. That means they may only want to do weddings, play clubs or land a serious orchestra position. Expand your bookings in the business.
(Artisan • Skill • Agree • Unify • Strength • Benefit)
This chapter consists of information about Unions, and how they help. Unions can be misunderstood and confusing. How do Unions help musicians? It starts with the responsibilities of the union’s administration and what the rights of musicians are, all the way to how to get benefits. Having a pension is not something that one thinks about when they are 25 but when you are 45, adding to your pension will be a lifesaver when early retirement at 55 comes around or if you should choose to wait until 65 or more. Getting contracts ratified, job security and making sure you are paid a living wage is Union. Unions are meant to represent us and have our best interests collectively. The electronic media is one of the main responsibilities of the Union, taking care and keeping track of contracts, residuals and benefits.
(How to Earn That Extra Check)
In this chapter we cover residuals that are paid out to musicians from past work. Because of the Musicians Union, as well as other unions like the Screen Actors Guild, the electronic media is where residuals accumulate. This is how we stay ahead of the game by getting paid again for services in the past. The media has contracts with the Musicians Union to pay musicians money from the playing of music on the radio, airing television shows, all the way to the big screen movies. These are called Special Payment Funds. Annual payments are made for the TV and Movies residuals as well as phonograph but residuals are also paid every 13 weeks from commercials and the rerunning of shows. Belonging to the Unions, as well as BMI and ASCAP, which are the tracking agencies, will ensure you a paycheck when it comes to composing and arranging. It is nice to get that extra check in the mail when you least expect it. This chapter covers how it is accrued and how to seek out that kind of work.
9. The Freelance Musician
(The Hardest Working HuMan In Show Business)
This chapter is all about the professional musician and his work. The Freelance musician is the lifeline of the music business. These musicians are what we call sidemen. Sidemen for the most part are the ones hired to do the work in bands and orchestras. This section will show what it takes to be a Freelance Musician. This section covers what styles to learn in seeking an endorsement deal. Being prepared as a Freelance Musician is like a gunslinger in the Wild West. You have to be ready for anything and know how to deliver when someone asks you to draw. It can be scary but that’s what we live for as a Freelance Musician. The chapter covers the subjects we usually don’t talk about in school and how it affects our life and career. It will be one of the jewel chapters of the book.
(Putting Your Skills to Work)
This chapter concentrates on the performance of the musician. All of the techniques that make us rise to that performance and professional level every time we hit the stage. It starts in Elementary School and continues throughout our performance lives. There are many techniques and issues covered like on the job issues, equipment, stage etiquette, and professional polish, winding down and even getting to the job. Here we learn to do some minor office work that will help out our performance as simple as taking notes and how to write down instructions for jobs. The performance is what matters, this chapter stresses this and refines it for the young player and solidifies it for the professional.
(What Performers Need To Know About Audio)
This chapter covers the understanding of audio from a musician’s perspective. It will outline and make a musician familiar with why audio is important. It covers microphones and microphone technique. Microphone technique is an important subject. It also gives examples of audio one needs to purchase in order to work. No musician can do without this information. For musicians, this is invaluable.
12. The Recording Studio
(How to Get Around in the Studio)
This chapter covers recording studios at home and in the industry. Home studios are so prevalent that we have to address the issue. This chapter helps a musician to have the tools to record music for clients, and their own personal projects. In the large studios there are several things musicians need to know when going in for a session and how to do the best job possible. This chapter covers all the issues and tools needed to be a recording musician.
13. The Mental and the Physical
(Performing With Body & Soul)
Being a musician is like being an athlete. One must stay in shape in order to play at a proficient level. There are inherent ailments that certain instruments produce. Ailments such as arthritis or carpal-tunnel syndrome are prevalent. Many musicians use their hands in intricate ways. This chapter helps young musicians to learn of these ailments and how to prevent them from occurring. The symptoms come on slowly and must be addressed early in a career. This is the difference between playing until you are 70 years old and having to stop playing at 50. Our state of mind is also overlooked. Being able to perform under pressure and not feel nervous is part of this chapter. Hearing loss is a major problem that must be prevented. Years of listening to music at loud levels can hurt a musician’s ears. Air is important for musicians. Nothing is better than having clean air to breathe when performing. This chapter covers personal subjects like family, friends, relationship and most of all vices. Alcohol and drugs play a major part in keeping a musician from being healthy.
14. Personal Subjects
(Understanding the Human Aspects in a Career)
We can attend schools and study with the best. Nothing prepares us for the world except a little advice from others and stories of others that were successful or not. We often do not learn until we learn from our own mistakes no matter what others may try to tell us. This chapter talks about what they can’t talk about in schools. Family, friends and different kinds of relationships will influence us in many ways. Some will inspire and others will trip us up to slow us down from completing our goals or keep us from reaching them. These sensitive subjects are controversial and should be addressed. They are more important than anything. Without keeping one’s house in order, reaching goals and having a successful life and career may be difficult.
15. The Road
(How to Survive the Road Life)
This chapter concentrates on how to survive life on the road. The adage is that no musician is worth his salt until he has been on the road. I can’t think of anything that will test a musician more. It brings out the good and the bad in all of us. As a traveling musician one must undergo the rigorous duty of performing every night no matter how they feel. This chapter addresses all the issues a musician may face and how to deal with them. From Frequent Flyer Miles to Hotels to living on the bus, this chapter helps the road musician to stay healthy mentally and physically. A musician must realize the road is not real. It is almost a way to get away from the day to day humdrum that is so easy to fall into. Going out on a weekend is not necessarily a road trip but the same principles can be used, as on a road gig several months long. The road takes people out of their normal routine and yet musicians try to make it as normal as possible. With this chapter, these issues will be addressed to help you survive.
16. Composing and Arranging
(Making and Taking Care of Your Music)
The chapter covers the composing and arranging aspect of the business. Well, composing and arranging is without a doubt one of the most money-making sources in the business. Besides being a Rock & Roll musician and making all that kind of money, a composer or arranger can reap the benefits of a single composition for life. In the business we say, “All you need is one.” Well that is true. Many people don’t know who wrote “Feeling” but I tell you he does not have to work ever again in his life. This chapter covers the issue of composing and arranging and how to get into it and establish oneself as a composer and arranger. There are laws that protect the composer that are covered and explain how to benefit from residuals from past works. Protecting the composition and arrangement with copyrights is at the forefront of this chapter.
17. The Business
(Where Knowledge and Experience Meet)
This chapter concentrates on the actual business. This section is one that most musicians do not have strengths in. The Music Business not the business of music. Musicians are creative people, spending most of their time practicing and booking their jobs and hanging out to get new ones. That’s the simplest way to describe the musician. If you were to tell a musician that they would have to know even 30% of what is out there in the knowledge of the Music Business they would probably tell you that it’s not necessary, or that they are not interested in knowing more about it. But as they get older and realize how music of their trade is really based on business, they start to pay attention to contracts and things that affect them and their day-to-day survival. As we get older we start to pay more attention to the little things. When we are all young we tend to be short sighted and all we can think about is playing and practicing. I have found that more and more musicians are interested in the business. Learning the law and what rights a person has, is the first thing many encounter. It is usually in the form of trying to get paid from a purchaser. Managing finances in order to keep your self-employed business afloat is the next rule of preservation. Taxes, we all dread. This chapter makes it clear what a performer needs to do to keep up with finances and not make the week before April 15, a nightmare.
18. Jobs and Professions
(Important Professions in the Business)
This chapter covers miscellaneous helpful tips in the business. and the added hats that one will most likely end up wearing at some time in their career, Producing, Managing, Engineering Running a Music Store and possibly running a Rehearsal Room Studio. As a producer this duty comes on by doing your own project or by a friend trusting your ears and musicianship to have you produce a track or two on their project. When you have played on many projects and have seen how much the producers make, one starts to notice. Taking up these skills is not only a great way to make more money and to further your career, but it also makes you a better sideman. Managing musicians is a job that so many need because most need representation from someone that knows the business as well as the music. Having someone that can guide a career, give tips on music and manage all of that is invaluable. Opening up a Music Store can be very lucrative if you have it in a great location and have good service. Musicians will travel many miles to get the right equipment and service. Rehearsal rooms are an investment for the long haul by musicians if not one, but several, take the risk of investment. Location is the secret and can well be worth the time. All of these other opportunities in the business are great aspects of just being a musician.
19. People and Personalities
(Human Traits and Behavior)
The goal of this chapter is to learn people skills. We must all realize we are in the people business as well as the Music Business. There is no way one can survive in the business without other people. Developing these skills can be difficult because no matter what you do some people like or dislike people for various reasons. There are many artists including actors I have heard they should have never listened to what other people thought or thought they should do. This is tough because those in charge can make decisions that may affect your career. This chapter helps and gives tips on how to deal with people in a people kind of business.
20. Internal Resonance
(Edification and Team Work)
Internal resonance has a few meanings. It is the sound of instruments orchestrated in a way that one can hear the harmonic and chordal structure of a piece. It can also refer to how sound resonates in an environment. I called this chapter internal resonance to refer to one’s inner self. One can resonate on their own with their spirit. This chapter was written to inspire one to do better in their own life that will spill into their personal and professional lives. In this chapter there is a section about recording conglomerations. These are the people that I believe that really mattered in a time with music that has lasted generations. From the Funk Brothers in Detroit, to the Los Angeles studio scene, these people contributed so much to our business. I wanted to pay homage to them.
21. The Coda
(Going to the End and Straight to a New Beginning)
This final chapter talks about the state of work in the industry. From dwindling work to making work. From runaway production to musicians strikes. This chapter speaks volumes about our future with legislation and funding for the arts. It is important to keep the political and cultural aspects of the business in the forefront of what will keep the music business going. Take a responsible role and be involved.