3 Key Pieces Of Advice For Musicians
With so much musical insight at our fingertips, we love sitting down with our industry professional tutors and getting their recommendations for successfully navigating the music industry. However, with so much knowledge and guidance available, we had to pin it down to three key pieces of advice.
Collaborating is vital in the music industry as it serves a variety of functions. It allows you to network and build contacts that you can utilise in the future. Whether they’re your current classmates or other established musicians, meeting new people and building connections will help you more than you know in an industry like this one. From getting you more gigs, introducing you to record labels or managers, getting feedback or collaborating on a track, having a wealth of connections is something you should be trying to do throughout your studies and after.
JMC Academy’s Head of Music and Songwriting in Melbourne, Chris Pickering, agreed. “Part of the added bonus of collaborating with fellow musicians is that you can create networks and musical relationships that may last a long time, and even evolve into professional partnerships.”
Collaborating on music helps to expand your knowledge of different types and genres of music, to ultimately further your skillset as a musician. “Getting inspired by other musicians is all a part of playing music too, and very often your fellow musicians can inspire to new creative heights or ideas that you might never have thought of” Chris explains.
Collaborating with other faculties and industries is something that many musicians don’t often consider. However, JMC’s Contemporary Music Performance course focuses on this type of collaboration in the integration unit, bringing students from courses such as Music, Songwriting, Audio Engineering, and Film Production together to collaborate on projects.
“In life and creativity, it’s very rare for one person to be able to do all things. In fact, the ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ saying often applies to creativity - if you don’t really hone or specialise your talents towards a particular field, such as instrumental skill or ability, or song writing, then you risk not being ‘outstanding’ at any one thing. In music, and in other forms of creativity, individuals are often valued for specific talents. So, when it comes to branching out and establishing a career in music, whilst it’s vital to have knowledge in many different areas, you may get better results in your projects from collaborating with other individuals with their own specific talents. Remember, those ‘other’ talents (such as management, film and television, recording) take just as much time and effort to master a your own, so working with others can mean the best outcome for everyone, as well as establishing potential future professional networks.”
2. Knowing the music business
Knowing copyright laws, how to market yourself and knowing how to build your own brand is all part of the business of music- something you should be very aware of as a musician, and something that JMC’s music courses teach comprehensively. Chris Pickering explores how “The music business landscape is constantly changing, which means that there are more and more opportunities for musicians evolving where there wasn’t any before.Being able to run your own business also ensures that you have the capacity to manage your own individual affairs, and aren’t necessarily beholding to other parties who may potentially take advantage of you, such as booking agents, labels, or managers.”
Music and Songwriting tutor at JMC’s Sydney campus, and former Ten Tenor Shannon Brown agrees, discussing how “Music is a business and if an artist wants to succeed then it is very important for them to understand the moving parts of the music industry. Knowing how radio works, how to work in a studio environment with professionals, how live venues book artists, how royalties and revenue, and licencing and other income streams work, how a publishing deal works etc are all critical for an artist to truly understand if they are to be successful.”
3. Knowing your tools
Having a basic understanding of the many aspects of the music industry can help artists to express their creativity, build their own demos, and communicate better with producers. JMC’s ‘Music Technology’ units give musicians an insight into Audio Engineering and Sound Production, teaching them how to use sound-mixing equipment so they can give their music a professional polish.
Shannon Brown reiterates the importance of being technologically aware as “Technology is a powerful tool for expressing your creativity. Knowing how to utilise your computer, an audio interface, and a microphone will provide you with the fundamental resources for a home studio and a basic understanding of how the recording process works. This means that you can whip up your own demos and do it your way! Having recording basics under your belt will ensure that whenever you need a demo, you’ll be able to create one without the hassle of finding someone else to do it for you.”
Even if a musician has an audio engineer on board to do all of the recording for them, there are a wealth of other benefits of having a basic understanding of music technology.
“You’ll improve your communication with producers. Knowledge is power, and the better you understand how sound works, the more you’ll be able to command just how you want things to sound. Furthermore, you’ll gain transferable skills. The fundamentals behind the technology we use for music, whether in the studio or on stage is the same. Knowing the difference between a TS cable and a TRS. Knowing that you need a DI box for your acoustic guitar in order to plug into an XLR input is crucial both in the studio and on the road.”