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Keep It Simple but Relevant
I admit this to actually being a second draft. I recently just finished the book The 10 Habits of Highly Successful Women by Glynnis MacNicol and Rachel Sklar. At first, I was going to talk about important points of each “episode” in the book. Then going over it I realized that no one would want to read all of that AND the book, and besides, I think there are some basic points that all successful women can agree on in the book. So here are 5 points that I think were a great reminder to myself and hopefully to everyone~ women AND men.
1.Don’t be a jerk, and don’t be a doormat
You would think this would be somewhat obvious. However, you’d be surprised how often you interact with people who are just not nice people. No one is telling you that you are not entitled to your opinions, but you don’t have to be a jerk to others who disagree with you. This also means you don’t have to lie down and let them walk all over you. There is a way to be respectful and strong in your beliefs. I think it is always good to remember just how small the music world can be. Usually, if you meet someone, chances are there are at least 5 people who know them too and will eventually meet you. In other words, don’t burn any bridges.
2. Remember to live life
There is life beyond just working and practicing. I had a teacher say they would rather a student practiced 5 hours and then use 3 hours to experience life. There has to be balance between both worlds. If your body is not healthy, then doing your job properly will be nearly impossible. While there may be a perception that you can do it for a “short time”, developing a life of healthy, and happy habits is more sustainable. You have to find some joy in the world in order to be able to share it in your work.
3. Keep an open mind
This book talks a lot about people just taking a chance on opportunities randomly given to them. No job was too small, no person too insignificant. Sometimes there would be moments where an author really wanted to go to an event and she would fund herself instead of waiting on the company. I find that being willing to do some things for free can also lead to bigger better things in the future. Sometimes you will be asked to do odd performances, but barring doing something completely out of your moral compass, why not give it a shot? It will keep things fresh and exciting for you, and perhaps give you a chance to meet important people who will make a difference in your career.
4. Just Be You
Don’t be fake. No one likes fake people and despite what you may think, we can tell you are being fake. Now, hopefully the real you also means that you can be a decent person~ see point #1. I know plenty of musicians who have gone out of their way to really tap into what makes them happy in their career. They don’t want to play in orchestras, but rather in bands. They want to play in cool venues. They want to play in orchestras, or perhaps they realize that they want a music profession, but more in the administrative side of things. But none of these means that you have to be a certain personality that is fake, or that you have to go out of your way to prove you are “cool enough.” Your work ethics, and talents will speak for themselves. (Also point #1)
5. Define your own future
As I listed in #4, there is no “right” music career. Sure, a lot of people go through the same steps and even get successful jobs, but I am seeing that more and more it is all about making the music career you love. Even if this means doing something that is totally outside of a typical music box. Sometimes it is the innovators who really make a career for themselves because they were not afraid to try something new. For example someone like Zoe Keating, who made her own career after someone told her that “you’ll never make it” in a classical music field. I admire someone who is brave enough to keep fighting for what they believe in and triumph in the end like she did.
You Do You
No one can tell you how a music career should be, because it seems that definition is constantly changing. Unfortunately, because the music industry IS so subjective, you are bound to get a lot of rejection, and perhaps negative feedback along the way. However, I do believe where there is a will there is a way. You have to work hard, put in the work, keep your head down, and take all the opportunities you can get. Sometimes, you have to be brave and go out and do a gig even if you don’t feel ready for it. Who knows where you may end up?
I found this book motivating and also a good reminder that at the end of the day you have to be a little selfish and focus on yourself. What defines you? Who are you really? What makes you happy? If anything these stories show how everyone has a different path if you are just brave enough to explore the possibilities, and most importantly put in the hard work until you find your path and achieve your goal.