Who has not dreamed of becoming a music star after watching and listening to the music of our favorite performers? I can sympathize because I have always felt that way myself—after listening to the Simon & Garfunkel tapes that my mother got me for my eleventh birthday, and later introducing myself to the music of Gordon Lightfoot, I bought myself a guitar, a harmonica, an Appalachian dulcimer and a few other instruments and began to compose songs by the dozen! (None of them has been recorded, though.)
A few words of caution
It must be stated however, before we go any further with this subject, that a music career requires a tremendous amount of talent and dedication. The creative element forms only a small part—the vast majority of your waking hours as an entertainer will be spent on the long, tedious, grueling work of getting the combination of sounds exactly right before recording the pieces in their final form. Then, too, there is the stress of being on the road, away from friends and loved ones, performing in front of a multitude of strangers whose names you will never know.
The difficulties can be so great that many people turn to alcohol and drugs, ending their careers, their families and sometimes even their lives. Think of how Elvis, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Brian Jones and countless others destroyed themselves in this way! Also, competition among musicians is quite fierce and performers can enjoy huge popularity only to fade from public view within a year. You should therefore consider pursuing such a career only if you are willing to devote a great deal of time to study and practice. Relatively few people earn a living solely by composing and performing.
How to get started
When you have decided that you want to embark upon a musical career, begin by taking music lessons at school with a private teacher. After you graduate from high school, you should either attend college and take music courses—perhaps also take part in the choir—or enter a music conservatory. You should also study independently in addition to your formal lessons.
Getting into the music business
The first thing that you want to do to jump start your career as an entertainer will be to form a band. Find friends in your neighborhood or at the college who like to sing and/or play musical instruments and try and persuade them to perform with you. Perform for anyone who is willing to watch you—on campus, in coffeehouses and elsewhere. In my hometown there is a second-hand bookstore where they hold karaoke every Wednesday night—see if there is such a place where you live. While you are performing, try to get a part-time job as you ill be needing money—lots of it—for the next stage, which is making recordings.
You can also collect tips from your performances. Using the money that you have earned, purchase some recording equipment. It does not have to be top of the line, but try to find some that will give you a sound of high quality. You might even end up recording albums this way, which you can then sell—no need to hire a major recording company. I have a friend who has recorded and sold her albums this way. In many ways, indeed, it is more pleasant to be famous in your own local community than around the world—that way you can avoid so much of what was discussed earlier that often makes being a star such a nightmare! For more information on this subject, read Making and Selling Your Own CDs and Cassettes by Jana Stanfield.
If on the other hand you decide that you would like to have a go at professional recording, the thing to do is to find yourself a recording company that does music in your genre. Make and send them a demo of one of your songs to see if they are interested. If they are, then you may find yourself on your way to becoming the next big thing and giving the world your gift of song.
Want more career tips? Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.