Think you’ve got talent? Want to be famous? Always dreamed of playing to sold-out football stadiums where hundreds of teenagers and old ladies sing along every word by heart? Get in line; join the rest of us.
Ever since the day I picked up a guitar, I knew I wanted to be a rock star. Probably one in three of all 12-30 year olds still believe he/she has a chance at rock-n-roll super-stardom. What is it that drives us to seek out the glory and the fame of our pop-culture heroes? I’m afraid the answers lie deep in human nature. A more fitting question may be: How do we balance the dream of making it big with the reality that we probably won’t? Let’s look at some practical ways to bring balance to our hard-rocking inner natures.
[MAKE IT YOUR HOBBY] Some people spend thousands of dollars on golf clubs, sailboats, hunting rifles or recreational vehicles. They rarely get a return on their investment; it was just a pleasant way to waste time. If you have a musical bent, why not try to book a few gigs at the local coffee shop, or take your band and play in every venue that you can within a 50-mile radius. You won’t get rich, especially if you have to split your earnings with the bassist, the lead singer and the guy who let you borrow his sound system. You may however, make enough to break even on the money you have invested in your gear.
[KEEP YOUR EGO IN CHECK]
I hate know-it-all musicians who think they are created to rub it in my face that they are good at what they do. There’s a fellow in my church who tries to lead the worship band. Nearly every week, someone gets mad at him or snubs him; or tells him off or quits the team. You would think he would get the hint. Someone told me once, “When it seems like everyone treats you like crap, maybe your head is up your butt.”
Musicians are a funny bunch. I think we tend to inflate our egos to cushion our fragile self-esteem. But whatever the reason for your arrogance, remember, no one ever got anywhere worth getting by being a jerk.
Practice being a nice guy. If you finish last, so what. At least you were nice. Besides, you probably aren’t that good of a musician anyway.
[RECORD A CD]
You can invest in a PC or MAC based home studio for an extremely affordable price. For the cost of a cheap mixer, a copy of Cakewalk Sonar and a decent microphone, you can turn your computer into a studio.
Stay up late and experiment. Create something. Even if you only sell 10 copies to your family and friends, you can always say that you recorded a CD.
[GET A JOB THAT YOU ENJOY] Tired of working in customer service? Burning out as a youth leader? Take a year out of that miserable wreck of a career path that you’re on and look for something new and exciting.
If you are not satisfied with your job, you will always regret not putting your music first. If you have a job you love, you’ll probably be more satisfied to see your music as a side project or a hobby, without that wanderlust to tour as the opening act for Nickleback.
Got a wife and kids? Put them first. Don’t go spending money on brand new amplifier if you need to be buying diapers. Sit down and make a list of the most important things in your life, and then try to divvy up your time in the right proportions. My list: God, Family, Work, Church and then Music.
Make out your list, and then live it. For some, music is going to be a bit higher on the list, and that’s great. For some, it’s time to make up our minds about what is most important to us.
[MAKE IT YOUR PASSION] Maybe you’ve got the talent, and people other than your mom have told you that. You have a growing fan base. You have nothing to lose by packing up and moving to Atlanta to start your career in hip-hop. Not all of us can make it our passion because our passions are spread elsewhere. But there are some readers out there who have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
If you are going to do it, do it big. Raise that “Music” notch on your priority list, and play like there’s no tomorrow. If music is your passion, then introduce yourself, “Hi, I’m So-and-So, lead guitarist for The Such and Such Band.” Sure, you might need to keep your day job as a window washer, but remember, music is your career, and window washing pays the bills.
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