How To Become a Professional Guitarist & Musician ~ Part 4 ~ “Making it”
by Tom Hess
long term music career.
Most people believe there are only two possible outcomes when trying to become a professional musician:
You either “make it” …. or you don’t.
In other words, you either become a successful “star” by making a lot of money touring and selling records around the world (this is what most people refer to as “making it”). Or you are doomed to become a “starving artist” by trying to squeeze out enough money per month just to pay the rent and in the process you must live a hard life.
This way of thinking (believing in the false myth) is exactly the same as believing that in our society there are only rich people and poor people (and nothing in between). Yes it was once that way in the past but we all know that today there exists a huge “middle class” in our society. And most people fall into this middle class.
What does it mean to “make it”?
Let me answer with a series of questions to you.
The truth is the make up of the music industry is very similar to our modern society:
Now for the truth:
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Yes, that is not a misprint. The majority of professional musicians fall right in the middle.
Most professional guitar players and musicians do not have gold or platinum records on their walls. Most do not tour all over the world. But most of them also do not play at shady bars in the worst part of town for 20 people. Most of these musicians do not scrape out a minimal living just to pay the rent.
Wait a Minute, I Have Never Heard That Before!
Why haven’t most people heard of this before? Because most do not fully understand the BIGGER PICTURE of the music business and all the ways people can (and do) make a really good living as a musician and not be world famous. You are not likely to hear of success stories of middle class (or even upper middle class) professionals for two main reasons:
The Silent Majority:
The middle class music business professionals making a good and secure living doing what they love are the silent majority in the music business. They are hiding just under the radar, almost invisible to the masses (who instead read about the rich and famous super stars). In many cases these middle class professional musicians also understand that the ideas used to create such a good, rewarding and comfortable life (including making good cash) are not that complicated. They also realize that if more people understood how it’s done, that may encourage more competition and therefore many of the music business professionals are a bit secretive regarding exactly what and how they do things. And this is somewhat understandable since (at least some of) these people need to keep their livelihoods secure.
What To Do Next?
Obviously, the full list of things you must do to succeed in the music business go far beyond the list below. This article (and the advice presented below) is merely a place to begin. This is what I recommend to do next...
In the next part of this series, I’ll talk more specifically about who and what your competition actually is. It’s probably not who and what you think it is. It is critical for you to understand this…. Because in order to “play the game to win” you must know who (and what) the players are….
To learn more about becoming a professional musician, read the other parts in this article series:
Learn how to get into the music industry and build your career in the music business.
© 2002-2016 Tom Hess Music Corporation