Darren Campbell wrote in (via the Request a Topic below) and asked I write on this… so here it is!
“The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want right now”
– Zig Ziglar
Some people claim that college is about the party. College isn’t necessarily about what you learn (how many of you grads can recall what you learned in Bio Geology), but the relationships, experiences and culture you receive. In Beauty School Dropout I gave some pointers on the importance of traditional college for musicians. You know where else you can gain amazing relationships, experiences and culture? Nearly every big city in the country.
If you’re going to college for the party, well, that’s one expensive party!
When I was in college (for the short amount of time that I was there) I spent my first year doing what all freshman do (besides trying to get laid). I put myself into as many possible situations (healthy and unhealthy) as I could. It’s how we learned what was good for us and bad for us (how will you know without trying??? Fuck science, Google and common sense!).
Once I realized, towards the end of my freshman year, that I was going to pursue music as my profession, everything changed.
I stopped going out unless there was a purpose to it (networking, promoting an upcoming show). Meaning I didn’t just go to a party for fun anymore. That kind of fun wasn’t important to me. Music was fun, but what was going to be even more fun was succeeding with my music and playing packed clubs.
I wasn’t very good at music back then (as much as I didn’t want to admit it), so I stayed home to practice instead of going out to the party. I read music business books, learned the intricacies of all the new technologies and social media sites and discovered where the best deal to order posters and flyers was from.
A very successful band that started out around the same time as me in Minneapolis had it down. I lived with three of the members for a few years. The lead guitarist had no interest in the business of music, but he didn’t spend his time going out to the bars or watching endless hours of TV, he locked himself in his room and practiced for 12 hours a day. Every day. Some days he’d spend half his time writing and other days he’d spend the entire time becoming the best possible guitar player he could be. He didn’t have as much natural talent as the other members in the group, but he worked much harder than most musicians do and is now on a level that challenges every guitar great in the world. He luckily had other members in the band who spent their time on the business side so he didn’t have to. They became a premier touring act and are now selling out clubs around the country.
If you aren’t spending the majority of your time on your music career then you aren’t serious about music. If you don’t have “free time” to do this, then you need to MAKE the time. Someone in your band needs to be devoting most of his/her time on the business. Ideally all of you will pitch in so you can split your time between writing, practicing, rehearsing and business. However, if you’re all A level players, then you are now able to put the necessary time into becoming A level music business people as well.
+Network Like a (Music) Pro