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How can I be successful in Commercial Music?

I am going to major in Commercial Music
#music #performing-arts #music-production

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Paul’s Answer

Hi Kelly! Got a few questions for you. What do you mean by "Commercial Music?" That can mean a lot of things. Do you mean write music for commercials? I kinda doubt it, but it's possible. Do you mean contemporary music (aka pop music)? Because those two things are completely different. For my answer I'm going to assume you mean contemporary music. And do you mean write it, or maybe manage it? There's creative, business, and technical career paths, which make a lot of difference. I'm going to assume you mean write, perform, or produce it.

1. Never stop learning. And that doesn't have to be in school. You must understand scales - major, minor, even modes. Then there's chords - major, minor, diminished, 5ths, etc. How about chord progressions? Then there's song structure. Are you writing AABA, Rondo, or something else? Nobody who pursues commercial music EVER stops learning - at least if they know what's good for them.

2. Decide if you need formal training. Many music people go to school to learn everything in #1. Do you need to go to college to learn it? If your focus is composition or performance, it would be a good idea.

3. Get practical experience. This industry has NO formal degrees or certifications. Most jobs are gotten through personal experience - you know how to do the job. You will ALWAYS learn the most through practical experience.

4. Network, network, network. The #1 mistake I made in my own career was not doing enough to meet people. In a creative business like music, people want to work with people they are comfortable with. That's not only a personality thing, it's knowing you can do the job and do it well. That usually comes from someone who's worked with you in the past, and recommends you for your next job.

Hope that helps. Good luck!

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Quinten’s Answer

Be true to your convictions, learn as much as you can inside and outside of music, and always be nice to anybody you work with.