2013 is already well under way and I’m curious….how are your New Year’s resolutions/plans going? Do they need a little kickstart? Here are 12 ways you can jumpstart your musical endeavors this year. You can try one a month or do them all this month, that’s up to you!
1) Set goals for the year. Decide what you want to accomplish this year and get really specific. For example, rather than setting a goal like “I want to do more with my music this year”, set a very specific goal such as “This year I will write and record a 10 song CD”. Notice two important things here, 1) the goal is very specific and 2) the wording is changed from “I want” to “I will”. Post your goals in a visible place, such as on a white board or a large piece of paper, where you will see them everyday. A word of caution. As you are establishing your goals for the year, don’t self edit! It’s very easy to find yourself thinking…”well, I want to record a new CD, but where am I going to get the money or the time?” Just set the goal and sort out how to get it done in the planning step (See #5).
2) Organize your space. Now that you’ve set all these nifty goals for the year, you will be well served to set aside some time to set up your workspace and put some tools in place that will help you accomplish your goals. Set up a workspace where you feel comfortable practicing and working (if you live in an apartment this may involve a bit of sound proofing) and have all the tools you will need at hand (piano, guitar, recording equipment, computer whatever you think you may need). Also, set up a place such as a white board, where you can post your action items.
3) Organize Your Time. As part the organizing step, I highly recommend that you create a work/practice calendar. Telling yourself that you’re going to spend more time making music this year just isn’t enough. Literally schedule out blocks of time for each activity (vocalizing, songwriting, networking, handling the biz stuff, etc). You can use a dry erase calendar on the wall or an online calendar tool, just be sure to look at it everyday and stick with it!
4) Find a coach or mentor. If you don’t have a vocal coach, you should find one, specifically one who understands the style(s) of music you are or would like to be doing. Also, find a coach or mentor who has experience with the specific areas you are interested in. For example if your goal is to set up a US tour, it would be very helpful to consult with either a) another artist who has successfully set up US tours, b) a booking agent who books tours for artists, c) a music career coach who understands how these things work.
5) Create a step-by-step plan for each goal. This is a great thing to do together with your coach or mentor. Let’s face it to achieve your goals you need solid plans and then action! Work out, step-by-step how you will achieve each goal. Make each step relatively small and doable. If you aren’t sure what the steps should be, all the more reason to consult with a coach or someone who is already doing what you would like to be doing. You will likely adjust your plan as you go but you need a place to start!
6) Practice more! Yup, you should be doing your vocal exercises and practicing songs everyday. You want to be on top of your game when the opportunities start rolling in.
7) Make the commitment to show up everyday and do the work! No amount of wishing or even careful planning will amount to much if you don’t take action! Show up everyday and do the work that needs to get done.
8) Update your promo photos. Invest in some really good professional photos. Your best friend may be handy with a camera, but it’s REALLY worth the money to hire a pro for a photo shoot. Preferably someone who is used to shooting musicians.
9) Create or upgrade your website. Every artist should have a “yourname.com” website as well as a Facebook band/musician page. Now that you have some great new photos, you should incorporate these into your website update. If you’re tech savvy you can do this yourself using one of the many web design platforms, or hire someone to do it for you.
10) Take a class or lessons on another instrument. It’s incredibly helpful for singers to have at least a basic understanding of and ability to play another instrument. Piano and/or guitar would be the best to start with. Having the ability to play piano or guitar will not only help you to be more musical but also opens the door to many other performance opportunities such as solo/acoustic shows and open mics. Plus, it’s fun!
11) READ! Learn as much as you can about the craft and business of singing as well as about other successful business practices. Some of the best tips and tools I’ve learned about how to make my music career more successful have come from non-musical sources. There are lots of wonderful resources available at your local library!
12) Get into the studio! Record some tracks, even simple piano/vocal or guitar/vocal tracks recorded in a really good studio. OR if you’re handy with recording gear, set up a home studio and start recording! You can upload these recordings to your website and social media sites, use them to get gigs and in some cases even sell them at your shows!
Remember that every step you take toward the achievement of your goals, no matter how small a step it may seem, gets you one step closer to success. Make the commitment to take at least one step everyday and sooner or later you’ll get there!!
I wish you incredible success!