TO ANYONE PURSUING MUSIC (college kids specifically.) / by Mark Eckert

taken from my facebook:

TO ANYONE PURSUING MUSIC
Specifically to those who feel like they are indebted a job after graduating college with a music degree:

It still amazes me how many musicians graduate from universities and think there are jobs lying around waiting for them.

As a very now-obvious fact: You're most likely going to be self employed before ANYONE makes an offer.. if that's even a thing. This industry is a helluva thing. You absolutely need to prove yourself with more than just a degree. You need to prove yourself before anyone gives a shit about you from the get-go. It's just how the world works. You should be getting started, or have already started, exactly where you are today. Whether you still live with your parents, you still have a shitty spouse that doesn't support your art, or you 'just don't feel good enough' - start now.

A majority of people in this field work their asses off. You are not that unique. The difference between the people I know who complain, and the people I know who are killing it is the fact that they know that music is only half of this craft. To better explain:

Do not bother complaining about losing your royalties if you don't understand how publishing works. Don't sign a deal if you don't understand the terms of a contract. Don't feel like you're getting 'fucked over' by producing a record when you never agreed on payment in the first place. Understand how to handle a bad relation between you and another person you're working with so your reputation doesn't go up in flames after the creative and personal tension doesn't work out.

Making art, and being able to support yourself financially (as a freelancer.. because that is what we all are) are 2 completely separate fields of study. They start working together once you have a lot of experience studying and implementing both crafts.

Your art is obviously incredibly important to focus on. But don't be afraid to learn basic things regarding how small businesses run themselves.

The fact of the matter is (and correct me if you think I'm wrong) if you want your art to reach it's highest potential, you need to spend a lot of hours doing it. an insane amount of hours doing it.

If you have patrons (rich parents who invest ungodly amounts of money into you, or something like an artist residency to stay at, etc), then you can spend all day doing it and not worry about money (however, I know artists in very good situations that are told what to create, because they are given this money. Hell, look at Michelangelo. Even he was told what to do half the time because he had patronage.) More than likely, you'll be doing projects and gigs you are not incredibly passionate about occasionally, and A LOT of them will happen at the very start. THAT IS TOTALLY OK, just think of it as a life test. How bad do you want to do this?

Do not get disgruntled because you haven't gotten offered a deal with $1mil up-front with nothing but glorified fame and partying. That is not based in anyone's reality. To the few who do get weird-deals, they typically are yesterdays news pretty fast (howbowdah!) You will have to eat shit and do a lot of work for a while before anything happens. THIS is what most schools are not telling their music students, and it really upsets me.

EVERY person who is pursuing their highest potential in art ate dog shit at the beginning. It is simply the reality of this industry.

I've put some books below that REALLY have helped me. I didn't know how to code it so they were next to eachother but they go directly for the link on Amazon. You may be able to find them cheaper at a used bookstore near by. Some of them are much more common, some are more rare. See what you can find! But definitely pick at least some of them up: