5 Ways To Invest In Your Music Career Outside of Buying More Gear
As a musician and engineer it’s easy to pin lots of future hope and dreams on gear. We can easily find ourselves thinking things like “If I only had a real ____ compressor, I could get that elusive drum sound and all my musical dreams would come true!” The uncomfortable truth is that gear doesn’t guarantee the ability to make great sounding music. There are lots of people with minimal gear making amazing productions, and people with lots of gear struggling to make music at all. Fueled by advertisements, gear lust can easily lead us into an arms race that can leave us broke and distracted from why we wanted the gear in the first place: making better music.
This is a guest post with drummer, mixing engineer and producer Luke O’Kelley
In this post, I want to share some simple, inexpensive ways that we can all grow in our career other than buying more gear. Whether you have all the gear in the world and just feel uninspired to make music, or feel like you’ll never be able to afford the gear you want, my hope is that this list will help you spend less time worrying about what you do or don’t have, and focus more on learning, making music, and growing in your career. In full disclosure, this list is just as much for myself as anyone else :).
1) Private lessons
Whether you are a side musician, artist, recording engineer, film composer, or all of the above, continuing to grow in your craft and learn from someone you respect is an amazing way to stay sharp and improve in your craft.
These lessons can be in person if you know someone locally that you want to learn from, or from one of the myriad of people offering online lessons.
There’s a lot to the music business other than being excellent at your craft. Having a mentor is a great way to get more high level/big picture guidance from someone that’s ahead of you in their career. You could have multiple mentors in different areas – whether you are trying to get better at business, finance, marketing, balancing relationships, or some other aspect related to living a well balanced life as a creative, a mentor can offer you much needed perspective.
A peer group is simply a group of people around the same level that share knowledge, encouragement, and maybe even referrals. A peer group can look like a weekly phone call, a group text thread, or a monthly hang at your local bar.
Having a group of peers to learn and grow with is an important part of any person’s growth. Are there people you know in your town, or on social media that are in a similar stage of their career as you? If not, then it’s time to get out there and meet some people. If you do, reaching out to them to create a group chat or a regularly scheduled call or video chat might do more to help you grow than any piece of gear.
Not everyone has access to amazing people in their community to take private lessons from, or knows lots of like minded people. Thankfully, there are lots of amazing online courses out there that can not only help you grow in your craft, but help you connect to other creative professionals. Produce Like A Pro, Mix With The Masters and Kris Bradley’s Produce Like A Boss, are just a few recording/producing related courses that can help you grow.
With all the online resources out there, it can be easy to forget that there’s lots of books out there on any variety of music related topics from recording, to songwriting, to music business, to marketing. If you are looking for books on recording, check out our list of books that will help you get better at recording.
These are just a few ways to get out of a gear acquisition funk, grow as a musician, and keep the dream alive. Got anything to add to the list?