Are These 2 Places YOU are Majoring in Minors?
Last week I wrote about my list for success: the 7 Deadly Sins of an Artist. I developed this list because I believe that by learning from others’ mistakes, you can build a foundation for your own success.
This week, let’s look at the Deadly Sin of “majoring in the minors.”
Not only can majoring in the minors be a time killer – it can also make you feel like you’ve done something that will help you, when in essence it’s not moved you ahead at all. It can give you a false sense of accomplishment.
There are 2 places I see artists “majoring in the minors”:
1. In their Live Show
To have a great show, you need to pay attention to the things that will make a difference. I’ve observed countless artists who videotape a show and evaluate it afterwards, and every one of them majors in the minors. The most common comments are “you need to smile more here,” or the vocal coach might say “hold the microphone this way,” or someone else will say “you don’t look good in red.” Don’t get me wrong — smiling at the right time is good, I teach mic technique, and I think good wardrobe is essential! But is watching the video helping them see how to capture and engage, create moments, and change lives?
Although small changes make a big difference, you need to know what you are looking for! I can’t stress enough how important it is to have an excellent observer (one who knows what to look for) help you with your show. (That’s why we do Skype sessions and video critiques.)
Be the kind of artist who builds something you’re proud of and that lasts. Have a plan, but leave room for spontaneity. Build a strong foundation. Make sure you’ve got the materials, tools, and skills necessary to make you visually compelling onstage. And finally, bring style and originality to your show, uncovering those things that make you, your music, and your show original.
2. In their Career
There are so many things that scream for your attention when you’re trying to build a music career. It’s easy to get caught up in the things that won’t make a difference. So it’s important that you invest wisely with your time, energy, and money.
I have spoken to 100s of 1000s of aspiring artists at colleges, workshops, and seminars around the world. I’ve met privately with 1000s of artists, and I’ve worked with 100s of artists on their live performances. I know many of these artists’ stories — their personal lives, their creative journey, and their financial situations. I’ve heard of triumphs, persistence, and pitfalls. I’ve learned where artists invest their resources in the process of trying to succeed.
Over the years, if you are serious about your career, you’ll invest in everything from equipment to lessons to recordings. You’ll invest in promotion, websites, photos/videos, and imaging. You’ll invest in songwriting and travel expenses and conferences. You’ll invest in rehearsals and practicing and woodshedding. The question is, are those investments worth the amount of time, energy, and money you are putting into them?
Don’t get caught up in the things that will have very little return or will make very little difference in your music career. Invest wisely.