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Monday, 13 August 2012

The Mythology Of The Full-Time Musician

This is an article is entitled "The Mythology of the Full-Time Musician".

In it, the author, Normandie Wilson wrote about how it is for a musician "doing music fulltime".

Below is my understanding and summary of what I gathered from the article. If I am really getting it wrong, please correct me. In any case, please read the actual article first so you do not get a preconceived notion of what the article is about.

Doing music full-time, for huge idols or other 'small time' musicians are the same. It involves doing different thing away from the actual direct process of creating music. They could be doing publicity events, playing at pubs and restaurants, etc. Individual musicians and groups also engage in reaching out either online (which they manage their communication with their fans) or physically in the real world (by getting involved in events,  organising interaction opportunities).

Yet, many musicians not (yet) in the business romanticise about what a full-time musician does, and stop there. Maybe they imagine going on tours all year round, always having fans running after them, adoring and admiring them. If they dig deeper (like connecting themselves to actual music artists who are full-time in the industry), they will find out exactly what full-time musician folks do. There will always be portions which are unglamorous and boring.

A fan base does not come into existence by magic. Once an artist or group actually have a fan-base, it only means that the artist(s) have to work even harder to expand and maintain that relationship. The harder we work in the industry, the more chance of exposure we earn for ourselves. The summary here is hard work, and not always choosing to do only the intersting/glamorous things we want to do.

If we really want be full-time musicians, relying on our music skills to survive, we will need to do more regular stuff that pays our bills. Yet for many musicians wishing to be full-time, they turn down opportunities for regular music related income with immature reasons. Normandie listed some of these reasons as people who only want to perform their original works (and not works by other bands/groups/artists), rejecting projects/jobs that seem to be below the artist's ability level, or integrity.

Each of these opportunities is a chance to get the money coming in, finance our monthly expenses. There is always room to engage our skills at the level we want to challenge ourselves, in the form of personal projects, collaboration with like-minded colleagues, side projects. Once we get into a few gigs or projects, we may actually get to know people, make connections which may then point our music career in a more related direction.

I think Normandie has done a good job painting a realistic picture of what it is like to be a full-time musician. It sets me thinking, about my own career.

Any thoughts?


  1. Hey I'm so glad that you posted about the article. You have a whole lot of good points in here, also!

    You are ESPECIALLY spot-on, about all the work it takes to maintain your fan base. It's FUN work, but that doesn't mean that it's necessarily easy. Your career is like a garden: you have to be constantly pulling weeds, watering your plants, and making sure they get enough of the things they need in order for them to grow. Your music career takes constant maintenance.

    I really enjoyed reading your thoughts. :) Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hey Normandie,

    Thank you for taking your time to respond and comment to my post.

    You've really set a good example on how much we need to manage our presence online and offline. It looks like you were actually monitoring how far your article is reaching people even after you've published it. That is a pleasant surprise for me, and that should be what we all should be doing.

    Looking forward to reading more articles from you.

    Keep in touch!