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Frustrated With Your Music Career?

Artist listens to industry panelI’ve been traveling a lot lately — meeting new people, connecting with old friends… seeing artists, industry, management, bands, producers…

And on every side of the industry I hear the frustrations so many people are having with their music, their shows, and their careers!

Recently, I talked to someone who has been in the industry for decades, and is quitting and moving into another profession. I had dinner the other night with friends frustrated by the difficulty they have getting regular gigs, even though they are some of the best players in the US.

Some frustrations will be there just because life isn’t always easy. Other frustrations come from frustrating people, circumstances, and obstacles.

But there are certain frustrations you can rid yourself of, with a little drive, commitment, and (most of all) a clear vision.

What Is This “Vision” You’re Talking About?

Good question!

Well, I’m not talking about some psychic, dreamlike, trance-induced, sitting cross-legged in the Himalayas kind of vision. It’s actually much simpler than that. Getting a vision involves making a plan for your success, whether it’s in your career or in your live show.

Counselors ask the question this way: “If you woke up tomorrow and miraculously your life had become “perfect,” how would your life look?”

So ask yourself the same thing. If you woke up tomorrow and a miracle had happened overnight, how would your show look? What would your career look like?

The flip side of that question for counselors is, “If you woke up tomorrow and a miracle had happened overnight, what difference would others see?” — Remember that, and we’ll come back to it in a minute.

Hold Onto the Ideas & Begin to Plan

Visions come in phases. They come in multiple ways, and they are multi-layered. So be specific, track them all, and write them down.

Maybe you see yourself standing on the stage, the lighting a certain color, the audience reacting in a certain way. Maybe the vision is something you’re hearing — a sound, an instrument, a tone.

Whatever you’re seeing or hearing, jot down the ideas in a notebook. Begin to make a plan for making those dreams a reality. Start listening to your songs in a different way. Begin planning changes in how you’re working your business. Think about what you can do online to achieve those results. Enlist help from members of your team and share your vision with them.

It’s Time for Some Risk Taking

Comfort zone and magicTaking risks can be scary. I’ve worked with hundreds of artists over the years, and every one of them had what I call an “invisible wall of fear” — something they afraid of or uncomfortable trying.

But taking a risk and getting out of our comfort zone is necessary for development and growth.

You need to be willing to take risks: musically, visually, verbally, and emotionally. No, you won’t be comfortable at first, but that’s all part of taking a risk.

I’ve seen too many artists come up against their wall of fear and stop. As a result, their growth as artists and as people is stunted.

Instead of Frustration, You’ll Have Passion

Armed with a vision & a plan to work out that vision, you are more focused, passionate, and appealing.

Even when you are talking to people about your music, your band, your show, whether you’re talking to a booking agent, club owner, or church, they sense there is something different about you from those who just come and play music. They can hear it in your voice and how you talk.

And that passion is contagious!

Which brings me back to that 2nd question a counselor would ask. Remember it? “If you woke up tomorrow and a miracle had happened overnight, what difference would others see?”

For you, as a musician, that question becomes, “What would your audience see that would be different?” And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? After all, that’s why you do what you do.

You serve an audience, whether live or on the internet, or through CD & radio… let them see your vision and your passion instead of your frustration!

Tom Jackson

Tom is uniquely talented and skilled at transforming an artist's live show into a magical experience for the audience; helping artists at every level create a live show that is engaging and memorable, teaching them to exceed their audiences' expectations and to create fans for life. Tom has taught indie and major artists of every genre. He has worked with Taylor Swift, Le Crae, Home Free, The Tenors, Shawn Mendes, The Band Perry, Francesca Battistelli, Jars of Clay, & many more. Tom also teaches at colleges, conferences and events worldwide.

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Greenroom Comments

  1. Excellent advice. Very cool. Looks like I’ll be doing some positive and productive jourmaling to make my performance even more inspiring.Thank you Tom!

  2. Maria Andrea says:

    Thank you Tom! All of your posts are very informative and offer a valuable perspective. I feel lucky to be learning from you and others like you!

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