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What professional steps can I take in enhancing my music career?

I am a 17 year old who is graduating in ten days. My passion is music, mostly performance, but I also play many instruments. I would like to know what steps I can take in helping me become a successful musician. I am from a small tow in Jackson Michigan, where I don't have many professional resources to talk to about music. I could use all the help I can get! Thank you!! #business #music #singer #musician #performing

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Subject: Career question for you

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B.J.’s Answer

Hi Tessa,


The fortunate thing for you is that you're growing up in a time where location doesn't prevent access to all resources. The internet has been the great equalizer, in terms of access to knowledge, contacts, and education in the music industry. You will have to be resourceful and bold, but almost everything you need is available from your computer.


The first thing you need to do if you plan to enter the music business is to decide exactly what you want to do. You can't find a path if you don't have a clear destination. If you're not sure what you want to do, try Googling "jobs in the music industry" and see what interests you. Do you want to be a performing artist? A songwriter? A producer? Do you want to work on the legal or administrative side? How about as a concert promoter or artist manager? If you play many instruments, performer/songwriter may be directions to consider, but maybe there's another aspect of the industry that catches your attention. So, seek that out first.


The direction you choose will determine the steps you need to take. But, I can tell you a few important things to remember about the music business:
1. Most people working in the music business are not rich. In fact, many are just getting by. While some superstars are living lavish lifestyles, those people are few and far between, and most music industry professionals are hustling every day to make a living. You probably won't be wealthy, but you'll get to do what you love.
2. Talent is assumed and mandatory. Nobody is successful in this business just because they are talented or skilled. Without the relevant skills (playing your instrument(s), songwriting, production chops, legal knowledge) you won't even have the opportunity to work in the industry. And assuming you do develop the necessary skills, it's far from a guarantee of any success. Success comes from taking those skills and being tenacious, ambitious, determined, focused, professional acting, and personable. Talent/skill gets you in the door - everything else determines if you get to stay.
3. Every day in the music business is hard work. It's hard work to develop your skills (and you're never done). It's hard work to get out and network with other industry professionals, which is how you find opportunities to work. It's hard work to promote the work you're doing. Did I mention it's hard work? Be ready to grind and to love what you do, but not necessarily love every minute of it.


Whatever road you choose, make sure before you start that it's really what you want to shoot for, and be prepared for good times and bad days. Then, seek out every resource, every opportunity to learn and build your skill set, and every chance to make contact with people who can help you. You've already started that by asking on here. Bravo!


Best of luck to you!

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Jacob’s Answer

Hi Tessa,

Although I do not have experience in the music industry, one thing that comes to mind is marketing or branding yourself to grow your audience. This could be done in a variety of ways, such as creating a website for yourself to promote your music, a YouTube channel to showcase your abilities, etc. The possibilities are really endless, but once you create a brand for yourself as a musician, you can leverage that to promote your work and gain traction in the music industry.

Hope that helps!

Jake
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