Food for thoughtmusician

Do you have to be a full time musician to be successful in music?

By August 15, 2019October 2nd, 2019No Comments

Q: Isn’t being a musician the best job in the world?
A: Most Definitely!!.. BUT

Being a musician is a blessing that we all should be grateful for. Not many people wake up in the morning and get to play the instrument they love for a living, to travel the world and see beautiful countries, to meet new people along the way. These are only a few of the many perks that this job has to offer. In fact, for most people being a musician is not even a job, but a passion. Getting that feeling of extreme enthusiasm while playing/making music is exactly what draws so many of us to choose it as a profession.

Nevertheless, things are a bit different when we have to start to make ends meet. The music industry has a lot to offer, but definitely doesn’t promise any economic stability. Most full-time musicians (unless you’re a mega pop star) don’t have it easy when it comes to pay their bills at the end of the month. Financially speaking, musicians have to work harder than probably any other profession, due to their irregular income. Being self-employed allows you to play by your own rules, but it also means that you have to be busy working all the time. No holiday or sick pay and when it comes to pension, you’re on your own. I don’t want to sound gloomy and negative. I’m not saying that being a full-time musician is only a struggle. On the contrary, you can make lots of money in music. But the irregularity of your income can affect you differently depending on what type of person you are.

So, is there a way to combine our passion for music, while having financial stability at the same time?

These days I meet more and more musicians who decide to keep music as their main passion and focus, while working other jobs at the same time. Many of them find a part-time job that allows them to earn a minimum fixed salary. This gives them the tranquility to have their bills paid by the end of the month, while enjoying their passion for music.
Some full time musicians might disagree, saying that you can’t focus on your passion if you are working other jobs. “You need to work hard on your craft! Are you practicing 10hrs a day?” or “You need to be constantly thinking about music! There is no time for anything else!” . I used to think that too, but more and more I realise that being a full-time musician is not for everyone. Many people enjoy music, but they also need some financial stability. There is absolutely nothing wrong in learning your craft as a musician while working other jobs.

I know many stories of many VERY successful musicians who have accomplished great things both in music and in their daily jobs. They’re not just good at playing their instrument, they are real masters! The great saxophonist Joshua Redman for example, graduated from Harvard in Social Studies, while becoming one of the brightest stars in jazz music. Neo-soul singer Erykah Badu also works as a doula, helping mothers give birth to their children. Blur’s drummer Dave Rowntree, still plays with one of the biggest Brit Rock bands of all time, while being a solicitor and a politician. These are just a few of the musicians who made it big time while working 2 jobs. So if they can do it, so can you.

‘till next time!

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Chris Castellitto

Author Chris Castellitto

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