HARD UP IN THE 2000'S: Being a Musician in 2014
It's hard up in the 2000's. Gone are the days of the big labels throwing big money at artists and everyone making mad moneys. Now, everything is much more independent. It's easier than ever to make music but that means it's much more of a convoluted industry. Anyone with Garageband and some knowhow can put out an EP on Soundcloud. The unexpected positive side effect though is that the real talent has to sift through all the noise. The people that truly want to do it with their life/career and are not doing it for fun have to work that much harder. Their struggle makes them stronger and their eventual success all the sweeter.
Although I have not reached the level of success I plan on someday, I certainly am someone who was made for music. There has never been a doubt in my mind that it's what I am meant to do and I'm extremely happy to have realized that early in life. But being meant for something doesn't automatically mean it will show up one day and you're good to go. You still have to work for it. As I mentioned before, I'm not where I need to be yet but I've managed to go full-time musician in the past year which is an accomplishment for me that I'm proud of. It's by no means easy and definitely not very profitable(one day though... one day!) so it's somewhat of a never-ending battle to support yourself with this life. I thought I would post about a day in the life of a medium income musician such as myself so people could see how a typical musician makes some cash. No Kanye West or Coldplay here, just a dude trying to make it by doing what he loves. Ok, day in the life:
I'll quickly preface my schedule by de-bunking the myth of the lazy musician getting up at 2PM and dragging his/her gear to the gig and living like a rockstar. Nope, not the case at all. I have found after much trial and error that the best time to get up on weekdays is 8AM(I have friends who are up as early as 5AM) and to be in bed by 1:00AM or so is is great. No matter what you want to do, I'm a believer that you actually have to do it and you have to actually be awake for that to happen so sleeping the day away is not an option. Granted there are some people who work best when they work until 5 in the morning, but that's not me. Ok, shut up Ryan, just get to the schedule already. My b.
This schedule obviously changes depending on the day but it's a pretty good idea of a typical M-F in my life. Don't forget there are many musicians out there who work full-time at different types of companies. I have a buddy that works for a company that puts out video games and he's the head composer; just writing music all day. He loves his job. What I'm talking about is more of a freelance lifestyle and works for me right now. Ha, that was definitely the last thing to say. Here we go:
Up at 8AM: A morning routine that consists of a combination of journaling, short mediation(usually 5-10 minutes) a bit of reading/learning something new, checking emails/working on some social media stuff(I am very aware of how easy it is to get sucked into an hour of facebooking so I try to limit all this business to 15-20 min of following successful people on twitter and finding out about events in the area that will benefit me), and making some breakfast after.
10AM-1PM: Then comes the fun part of my day where I can just focus on music completely. It goes from around 10-1 and includes: writing, practicing, reading/research, and a couple of miscellaneous emails. Note that there is not much time for this so I have to make the most of it by not getting distracted on Instagram or texts. It helps if I have a goal for that time like finish this song or get a chunk of this piece done today.
1PM-2PM: A workout: jogging, weight lifting or any combination of the two. Whatever gets the job done.
2PM-2:30PMA quick shower/meal: Trying to eat healthy so something along the lines
3PM-7PM: Lessons Anywhere from 1 to 4 hours
8PM-9PM: Last minute work stuff: Maybe finishing something from before or getting ready for tomorrow.
9PM-12AM: Hang with friends and/or girlfriend: Relax for a bit and get ready for bed.
Lessons are a big chunk of income while performances are the next big chunk with composing gigs supplementing the final bit. There's always that random gig that happens sometimes since you've allowed yourself to open up your schedule for the freelance lifestyle. This is more of a typical weekday and with that comes less gigs and more lessons unless I'm playing in a musical which can be as early in the week as Wednesday and rehearsals are sometimes all week starting on Monday. There are also band rehearsals, gigs, meetings, events, and other things that happen on the weekends. A sometimes random, but very interesting life.
Thanks for reading. If there are any other musicians who live a similar life, please feel free to contact me and we can talk shop.