As a new experiment on this blog, I thought I’d share what I think are some misconceptions about the big bad music world and us mere humans trying to navigate our way around it.
The first one I’d like to address is the idea that, you get one chance to really make your career amazing. It could be a big concert, a presentation, some sort of performance or audition that you feel could be a huge break for you, and if you fail or do less than your best, that’s it – career ruined, minimum wage job for the rest of your life – no more chances.
This, in my opinion, is a mindset that is so unhelpful that we need to put it to bed right now.
Sure, some gigs might lead to more work, better work, with influential people – fantastic! – but if those seemingly ‘more important’ gigs don’t go well, you can recover, you can regroup, you can carry on and learn from failures instead of thinking of all the missed opportunities.
In fact, some of my ‘failures’ have actually taught me way more than the concerts that went well. As musicians, we dedicate our lives to learning, and this is true of freelancing as much as it is true for mastering your instrument.
Having an important string break just before a big concert? We learn to always have spares of everything. Just in case.
Late to an important gig? We learn to leave enough time, even when we think there won’t be traffic.
Solo performance could have been better? We learn to evaluate our performance, see where we went wrong, practice differently, and do better next time.
Instead of looking at all our failures, all the times we went wrong, all the times we didn’t fulfil our potential, let’s look at what went well, what we can change for the better, how we can improve.
A career like this is a journey for us. A huge learning curve. Nobody starts off knowing everything, we learn by experience. If something doesn’t go well, as Taylor would say shake it off and remember tomorrow is a new day. It’s a big world out there, don’t be afraid to jump in and move forward.