I’ll admit, I don’t know what a “real” musician is. If a real musician is someone who knows how to read sheet music and goes on tour a lot, then I’m sad to say that I’m not a real musician. Luckily you probably don’t know what a real musician is either.
What I’m really trying to get at here is the struggle and tension that exists when trying to define ourselves. I’m sure there are a lot of people reading this right now who want to be “real musicians” but can’t figure out how to get there. Maybe a better way of putting is that you want to be perceived by others as a real musician. Whatever that is.
Well guess what? There’s only one thing you need to do in order to become a real musician. And all it is is a simple choice.
You become a “real musician” by choosing to be one. That’s it. It’s that simple.
I mean, it’s sort of that simple. The choice is simple, but then comes the work.
Once you choose to be a real musician you have to start acting like one. And acting like one means considering doing the following things:
1. Always be working on music. Now that you’ve chosen to be a real musician, do what real musicians do and make music. As much as possible. Always be writing. Always be planning the next release. Always be experimenting. Always be excited about the next thing.
2. Always be sharing. Now that you’re always doing something musically, show people you’re serious by letting them in on it a little bit. Talk about what you’re working on. Talk about your plans. Get people to join you in your excitement.
3. Be aware of and cultivate your identity. Most of this happens online nowadays which is great and also terrible. This is largely where you get to control how people perceive you. You can choose to have people associate you with politics, hilarious GIFs and Instagrams of your breakfast, or you can start focusing your identity on your music. Make it clear that you’re serious by acting like a professional on the internet.
4. Take yourself seriously. You are a musician. Seriously. There is no doubt about it. You have chosen to make music a huge part of your life, so embrace it. Reject people or ideas that make you feel like you aren’t a real musician. Because it’s not up to them, it’s up to you. And you chose to be a “real musician”, remember???
So what do you say? The difference between you and a real musician is choice. What choice have you made?