You can find a ton of content online about how to grow your Instagram following, how to get 1,000,000 fans or even how to “dominate the industry.” But what does “dominating the industry” meant to you? Whether you’ve started your music career or you’re still trying to get it off the ground, it’s important to have a defined set of goals for yourself. Not everyone wants the level of visibility that comes with being a popstar. But if you do, you should own it. Either way, you’re gonna have a hard time getting to 1,000,000 fans if you aren’t improving your skills as a musician. Yes marketing is important, in fact, we talk about How to Gain Exposure here.
But first, let’s talk about some ways you can become a better musician in 2024. After all, do you want a career with longevity, or a Tik Tok hit that people will forget about in a year? If you want a career in music, this article is for you. If you follow this guide, your skills and confidence will grow. And the fans, however many there may be, will come to you.
Learn To Play An Instrument
Regardless of what aspect of the music industry you’re most interested in, there are a lot of advantages that come with learning to play an instrument. If you’re a singer, learning to play an instrument will allow you more independence as well as increased opportunities to work with other musicians. No need to track down a guitarist or find instrumentals for covers you want to perform. On the other hand, diversifying your skills can allow to to take on gigs as a guitarist or pianist for other singers.
Playing an instrument gives you more chances to work with other musicians. It can also helps you improve your timing, improvisation skills, and your “ear.” With the help of an experienced teacher, you can learn the correct techniques and explore different genres and styles of music, thus expanding your repertoire. Furthermore, taking lessons allows you to have a sort music mentor you can ask questions to and even find industry opportunities through. Fortunately, there are many options available to you if you don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on traditional lessons. You can take lessons online for a slightly cheaper price, or even watch free Youtube videos.
Take A Course in Music Production
If you have the time and money, going to music school is obviously a great way to improve your music skills, find mentors, and network. Music school can help you expand your understanding of music theory, composition, history, and performance techniques. But we understand that going back to school full time is not a realistic option for many people. The goods news is there are a lot of intensive, short-term options out there to help you build your skills. Recently, we launched the Bay Eight Studio Academy for audio engineers. We offer a four week course and flexible financing options, because we want to make it easier for you to prioritize your music career in 2024.
Many similar programs also exist for singers, songwriters, etc. Taking a course in music production basics is a great idea even if you don’t want to be a producer. As a musician, it will allow you more control over the way your music sounds. You’ll be better able to communicate with producers, or draft up ideas at home that they can later refine. Don’t be discouraged by the price tag of music school, there are many more affordable and less time consuming work-arounds. You just have to find the right one for you.
Join A Songwriters Circle
Connecting with a group of musicians is a great way to force yourself to practice more. You can join a cover band, jam circle, an acapella group, songwriter’s circle, etc. Take your pick! If you’re lucky enough to have other musically inclined friends or family, you can even do weekly get togethers in your apartment. There’s no need for it to be a formal thing, the important thing is to play music with others as much as you can. Even if you aspire to be a solo artist, there’s a lot to be learned from playing with others. Not only will it help you gain confidence when it comes time to play in front of an audience, you’re also bound to pick up ideas from the musicians around you that help you refine your own craft.
Get Involved in the Local Music Community
It’s not essential to be in a major city to build a music career. In fact, you can be at an advantage in a smaller town. Big cities tend to be oversaturated with artists, which can make it a lot harder to book gigs. If you live in a small town, you should look for opportunities to play events like weddings, Bat Mitzvahs, and fundraisers. These may not be your dream gigs but they are great, low stakes practice opportunities.
Going to shows in small local venues is a great way to meet artists, managers, and club owners who may be open to letting you play a show. You can also reach out to local radio stations and music bloggers when you have new releases to promote. In a small town, it’s usually easier to get these people’s attention. You likely already have mutual connections that can put you in touch with people involved in the local music scene. While all of these options are available to you if you live in a big city like LA or New York, you may have to jump through more hoops before you get people’s attention. If you’re located in Miami, check out this list of places you might reach out to for performance opportunities.
Share Your Music on Social Media
One of the advantages of social media is that you can reach people all over the world. So, it’s a great option if there’s isn’t a huge local music scene where you live. Once you have a following, even if it’s just five to ten people, you get built in accountability partners. You’ll also get to see your progress documented, which can be great motivation. As you improve, you’re likely to find yourself cringing at videos of yourself from when you were first starting out. The good news is that it means you’re improving!
Also, being consistent with posting videos is a great way to practice the non-music skills you’re likely to need as an indie artist. Video editing, social media management, online networking are all important parts of building a music career these days. It will give you a vote of confidence knowing you can manage these parts of your career even if you don’t have a manager, videographer, or assistant.
Perform as Much as You Can
While some assume that all artists love attention, we know that live performance can be one of the most nerve-racking aspects of being a musician. The only way to get more comfortable performing is by doing it as often as you can. Take every gig you can, even if the pay is low (or nonexistent). Don’t forget that street performance and open mics are good skill builders too. In many ways, these are way more challenging gigs than paid shows. It’s hard to win people over when they aren’t there to hear you. As a street performer, you’re likely to encounter people who don’t even like the genre of music you play. You’ll be challenged to expand your repertoire if you want to earn a few bucks.
If you can get office workers to spend five minutes of their lunch break listening to you play, then you’ve likely got a promising career ahead of you. Open mics are also a great way to connect with other musicians. If you show up consistently and improve, some coffee shops will offer opportunities to play longer sets. Before you know it, you’ll be making your first $20 from music. How’s that for dominating the industry?
Set Up A Practice Schedule
In case it wasn’t clear, practice is the most essential part of becoming a better musician. However, practice can look different based on your goals.You don’t have to sit at the piano and practice scales for hours on end if it makes you miserable. It’s best to think about what skills you want to improve and create a realistic schedule for yourself. Maybe you want to make a new beat every week, or you want to do one open mic a month. Hold yourself accountable by involving other people. You can play a new song for friends once a week, or post on social media on a regular basis. Consistency is a key part of making sure your music skills steadily improve. Whatever practice schedule you establish, make sure it’s something you can stick to.
If you follow these tips, you’re bound to see growth in your musicianship. But since we’ve talked so much about practice, we should also point out that the growth process is endless. Don’t get so caught up in perfectionism that you never release anything. When you feel ready to record some new music, come visit us at Bay Eight Studios.