How many times have you heard musicians tell stories about how they “almost got signed” but the band fell apart Their dream of making it in music…poof! Gone.
Your fellow musicians will either be your music’s secret weapon or it’s reckoning. Rushing to find a “replacement” can result in a figurative bloodbath down the road. In reality, the more time we take to find the right fit, the better.
The purpose of this article is to help you save time. Every one of the three things on this list is, based on my experience, a deal breaker. Let’s get to it.
Everything is born twice… conceptually, and then physically. Literal deals with hard truth or facts while abstract deals with ideas and interpretations.
There is nothing wrong with having ideas. I believe abstract thinking is the birthplace of all genius. What’s deadly to your music, is when an abstract thinker resists/hates thinking literally. They resent the concreteness of bringing an idea to life.
Everything is born twice
This is why this is dangerous… because when we attempt to materialize an idea we quickly find out whether or not it’s a good one. We eliminate. We have to alter them. The abstract thinker does not like that. They feel they have to protect their idea.
The musicians you want to have on your team will value literal thinking. They will recognize it as an essential part of the creative process.
The shortcut taker
We get tempted to believe it is the responsibility of a manager or record label to make things happen for us. It’s not our fault. That’s how it used to be. Now it isn’t. It’s the musician’s equivalent to a Disney film, and it doesn’t work. That would be too easy….
The first band I managed had some awesome musicians in it. They worked hard practicing, writing, and performing music.They had a bunch of songs. Some were recorded, unrecorded, “not ready to play live”, and “boring” (they were finished, but they didn’t want to play them anymore).
I helped them set goals and establish budgets. We got a sweet logo designed and purchased a bunch of merch. I found two people who wanted to help me. That’s right. The band actually had three people supporting them! They went from making zero dollars to more than $1k each month (sometimes 2,000-3,000).
There are no shortcuts…
In spite of all the amazing things that were happening with their band, members did not change bad habits in their personal lives. There is no such thing as something for nothing.
Instead of getting their hands dirty, they looked for short cuts and avoided making personal changes. They remained un-organized, procrastinated and mismanaged their personal finances. That affected their band and slowed down momentum.
A manager is ineffective unless you build something for them to manage, first. If you give someone else the task of establishing and constructing your vision, you will resist them. That’s why you have to build something and then hire someone to manage it.
The vague visionary
The first band I managed did not know how they wanted their music to impact the world. They knew they wanted their music to inspire people. The problem was, they did not know how they wanted to go about doing it. They did not know what to write their music about. Besides “vision” sounds like “business stuff” and they didn’t want to do any business stuff. They wanted to play music.
I believe a musician has to write music for the purpose of serving others– How will you use your music to influence/inspire other people? What do you want the physical result to be? Why is that important to you?
Begin with the end in mind…
Black Sabbath, created a culture. And they did it on purpose. They knew what they wanted to build, and they used their music to build it. Because their music had a purpose, it was easier for them to make decisions and align their focus.
From my perspective, the bands that influence people decide how they want to do it first. Then they write songs. A band with a vague vision just starts writing songs. They play music for the purpose of playing music. That makes no sense. It’s like building a home without a blueprint…. or trying to get to a gig without having the address. You have nothing to go by.
If you want to make music you can. Nothing will stop you. If we want our music to have influence, however, we have to think about how it will affect someone else.
From my perspective, the people with the qualities I described make unproductive musicians. A lot of people say that art is self-expression.
So, next time you’re “in a rush” to find a replacement take it slow. Your music is worth protecting!
Get to know yourself so you can express it clearly to others. You can leave a greater impact. Also, if you have trouble defining who you are as an artist, then download this workbook and get answers.
It features several questions designed to help you define your “self.” If you know yourself, you know your purpose and you enhance your ability to express your “self” to others. That will make you, by default, a more effective and more influential musician.
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See you next time!