You do need to hustle to a certain extent in the music business. But if you get rejected from a gig, first of all don’t take it personally. You can’t please everybody, nor should you try. Second of all if you simply are not good enough yet, go home and practice. The worst thing you can do is skip ahead. If you get to play a show you are not ready for, two things can happen, you might fail and make a fool of your self, or you might barely get away with it and get asked back.
Now if you are asked back, you need to learn on your feet! You need to spend every waking hour practising. I love music, but I am very critical of someone who does it badly and expects to get paid! Now I also have seen a scenario where particular musician gets a regular gig with a band in a local venue, and soon enough it becomes a routine. Routine is not necessarily a bad thing. But if you don’t iron out those mistakes, sooner or later it will come back to bite you. Sooner or later, when you have got comfortable having the gig and getting a regular income, your band mates get fed up with you not pulling your weight. And then getting sacked will be a bitter blow.
Where as if you just kept practising until you were up for the job, you would have nailed the gig. And the routine would be a pretty damn good gig every time. Music is a fun hobby, but it is a merciless job. I like helping new artists, but if I only played with people who’s musical skills were well below mine, how would I learn? how would I get better? And unfortunately it is too often these up and coming musicians who think they are the best thing since the sliced bread… And more often than not… they are not.
And I’d be the first to admit, I was there. The twenty year old me was an arrogant, and insecure emotional mess 😀 But I had enough humility to go back home everyday and practice. But the more I learned, the more aware I was that I was not the best thing since the sliced bread. At the same time, as soon as I admitted this to my self, the humility guided me in my practice. You see, when you are on your own practising, there is no room for the big ego.
I did my best to get to play and hang around with good musicians, better than me if possible. In fact still today I am happiest when I am surrounded with musicians who I can learn from. The better they are, the more they drive me.
And most of all, I still practice all the time. The beauty of music is that there is always something more to learn. And not only technically, but emotionally as well. You need to be willing to connect with those emotions, to let them come through your music. It is never-ending school, and I am a very happy to be a student. The day I feel there is nothing more to learn, is the day I will put down my guitar for the last time.
The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE