Musicians are passionate and talented people as a whole. They are incredibly interesting, generous, deep, sensible, human… and I believe that a lot of people could benefit from getting to know them.
There is more! They’re usually multitalented! They have other passions and talents that they also love and could share with you and the rest of the world.
However, when I ask them how they are doing, sadly one of the most common replies I hear is:
"Given the way things are going, I am just thankful I even have a job."
WAIT A MINUTE! THAT’S SAD!
There is a lot of talent that is going directly to the trash! They are not seeing the opportunities to develop their skills and offer something remarkable and make a good living from it are going to waste.
So what’s the problem?
I’ll be very honest here, and I know that some of musicians won’t like it.
It’s all about the MINDSET & BELIEFS.
Some musicians still think that one day some manager will miraculously appear, discover them and make him or her into a successful musician.
I’m sorry but you have a better chance of winning the lottery at this point.
You can’t depend on others to create an artistic path and build a successful career for you. You need to start the process yourself.
Classical musicians that want to become profitable need to accept responsibility in their own career and, with the help of others, develop your project until it becomes a success!
Just as important,
"I believe musicians that want to be profitable need to start thinking themselves as if they were a cultural product." Tweet this
I know, I know… you probably hate me now for using the forbidden word, "product." I do not mean to insult the musician community by inferring you should sell yourself if it was a new type of kitchen blender or garden tool ;) but you might agree that:
1. There is no MUSICAL EXPERIENCE without someone listening, right?
2. There is no money to support your musical experience if there is no AUDIENCE.
That means that in order to keep doing what you like to do most, you need to deliver something interesting and attractive to your audience (a cultural product) so they can pay you back and support your activity.
And this, my friends, earning money from offering a valuable service or product, this is a business.
If you think I have offended you, I apologize. I wish that someone would have told me this when I first started with my string quartet. I can’t do things over again now, and I wouldn't if I could do so.
I think though that if you can embrace the business aspect of music, you can make a good living doing what you like to do the most.
Great talented people CAN promote their cultural product (musical experience), while still being true to their music and their passion, and allow others to experience that same passion through their music.
But don't trust me, instead you can read this post with a list of musicians who are just doing it themselves. Here they are!
"Art doesn't pay my mortgage, unfortunately. If I want people to buy into what I do, it has to have an element of "consumer" or "product" orientation. Part of being a product = marketing. Otherwise, you're just art on the shelf, which consumers will rarely want to automatically buy."
So, for the ones that can see themselves as entrepreneurs and want to know HOW TO USE THEIR TALENT TO BE MORE PROFITABLE, keep reading...
The 2 thing you need to do:
1. Stop thinking about your technique and repertoire.
Of course, a good quality is expected. Your audience takes this for granted.
2. Start thinking more about your audience.
If you want to use your talent and be profitable doing so, find out what people like and give it to them.
It’s that easy! (Well at least in theory ;)
Here is an example of successful transformation in the performing arts I just discovered in a very inspiring blog post that I hope inspires you too.
Here is an extract:
Ben was a circus performer who was making minimum wage and had no idea how to start making money on the side. He liked his job, but he also happened to be a pretty good dancer, which is very closely related with the acrobatics. He was surviving economically speaking, it was tough and difficult!
What Ben did with that? For most people, it just remains a hobby, a random interest, while they pine away wondering what to do with their “passion.”
Ben identified his unique skillset and found a profitable idea teaching men how to approach women on the dance floor.
Best of all, this is what Ben loves to do. He turned one of his passions into an income stream that paid up to $275/hour.
You can read the whole story here.
What you can apply from Ben’s story
Ben did lots of things differently from most people. He figured out how to get paid to do what you love.
1. He didn’t quit his job to chase a dream of dancing on Broadway. He kept his day job, started slow, and tested his idea out.
2. He didn’t say “But I need credentials! I can’t teach dance unless I go to Juilliard!” He just learned enough to help guys who wanted/needed help — and were willing to pay.
3. He made his business about other people (THE AUDIENCE). If you listen to him tell his story, his first idea to teach acrobatics bombed. But once he made his business less about him and more about other people’s problems, he started getting clients all over the country.
4. He didn’t wait for an idea to come to him — he learned how to find one. Ben didn’t sit around and hope a great idea would just fall from the sky.
I’m not saying that you have to stop playing and do massage therapy instead. There is nothing wrong, however, with being a massage therapist if that is your passion.
I believe though that there are many opportunities in the classical music world just waiting to be discovered.
You only need to be open minded, almost fearless, and test out new musical experiences until you find the one that, not only you love doing, but also that your audience loves to pay to hear and experience!
Maybe you have a story similar to Ben's that will inspire your fellow readers?
Please consider sharing with us!
You can submit it below
I will post the best submissions so that all of us can learn from and be inspired by your personal experiences.