Being a hobbyist musician certainly has its perks – it’s low-pressure, you can focus fully on the fun aspects, and you can dedicate as much or as little time to your practice as your lifestyle and schedule allows.

However, many musicians who start out playing music as a mere hobby soon find themselves wanting something more – exposure, a small audience, maybe even a gig or two. Many even decide they would like to write and record an album.

Having something to work for is a fantastic motivator for your practice, and goal-setting can help take you from a play-for-fun musician to a performer, recording artist, songwriter, or whatever your heart desires.

This week, we explore some avenues that can take you from a hobbyist musician to a more deliberate, directed practitioner. We interview the founder of a music entrepreneurship academy, learn about a music program that encourages students to enter the mindset of a composer and producer, and discuss how to maximize your chances of successfully completing an online music course.

Before we dive into all that, a quick reminder on a very special event happening tomorrow, and a quick briefing on June’s offerings…

New in June

With the long-awaited arrival of summer comes new Musical U announcements and content for you to sink your teeth into.

June newsFirstly, a reminder that this month’s Masterclass is tomorrow, June the 30th. Davin Youngs of the Chicago Singing Circle will be giving an hour-long live lesson on the topic of sounding good as a singer – so if you’ve ever been afraid to sing in front of people, or think singing is irrelevant to your instrument playing, or are reluctant to record your singing voice – you won’t want to miss this! Register here, and we’ll see you tomorrow!

This month, our Instrument Packs see an exciting new addition with the Major vs. Minor Resource Pack, we’ve beefed up our Three-Chord Songs and the Four-Chord Trick module with an extra lesson, and beloved guitar Resident Pro Dylan Welsh is hitting the road this summer – and we have the info on his tour dates.

Excited to learn more? What’s New in Musical U: June 2018 has the finer print!

Music Entrepreneurship

The “starving artist” trope unfortunately leads to many musicians believing that it’s unrealistic for them to ever hope to make a living, or even an income from their music – so they resign themselves to becoming “bedroom musicians” instead of pursuing a career.

Bree Noble interviewBut how about some professional advice on, well… becoming a professional?

Besides her achievements as a singer-songwriter, Bree Noble is the founder of Female Musician Academy and the host of two podcasts, Women of Substance Radio and the Female Entrepreneur Musician podcast. Through these channels, she gives advice on getting recognized and getting paid for their musical passions – through an avenue that suits them, and with a focus on empowering women in the industry.

Tune your ears into Getting Heard and Getting Paid, with Bree Noble, and learn how to elevate your music practice to a music profession!

Bree’s poor eyesight meant that she had to learn to memorize music at a very young age. Because of this, she was able to develop memorization skills that would serve her well throughout her musical career. John Ward Music Lessons discusses the benefits to developing memorization skills.

Many musicians may have decided to move onto another career if they were unable to read the sheet music, but Bree found a way through with her memorization skills. Memorizing music provides something that Ford Barker calls “performance security”, a skill that helps you avoid memory slips and mistakes in a live setting.

Bree has found a great niche in helping other musicians develop their marketing and promotion strategies. If you want to become a commercially successful musician, learning how to promote your music is absolutely essential. Adam Harkus unpacks music promotion for aspiring musicians.

Most people discover new music through YouTube, Spotify, and other online platforms – which means that you need to build a presence online! Michael Musco breaks down 10 ways that you can make your musical presence known on the worldwide web.

Music Tech

Richard McCready’s Music Technology program isn’t your average school music curriculum – you won’t find his students playing classical pieces in a band setting, or working through theory textbooks.

Composing with computersInstead, the program approaches music education from a creative, hands-on angle that sees the students creating a whole new piece of music using computer software. Under the teacher’s guidance, they are in the driver’s seat for all parts of the process, from conception, to composition, to mixing.

Learn about the story behind Richard’s program and its incredible results in classrooms in Creating, Composing, and Computers, with Richard McCready. Don’t sleep on this interview if you’re a self-taught musician – Richard also has some valuable advice for independent learners, including insights on composition, aural skills, and keeping yourself engaged and motivated in your learning journey.

It was fascinating and inspiring to hear how Richard’s students are using technology to explore their musicality. However, technology isn’t just limited to composing and recording – it can make your everyday musical life easier. Bridey at Pianosaurus Rex explores the ways in which technology can be used in music lessons.

With so many choices on the market, how can one make a decision on what software is right for them? We discovered Dr. James Frankel on the Music Tech Tips podcast with our friend Katie Wardrobe. Dr. Frankel has helped to bring a suite of music tech products to market at Music First.

GarageBand is one program that can easily be used for recording, and is now even available as an app on iOS. Interested in exploring some other options for recording like a pro? Hear the Music Play has compiled a list of recording tools that you can carry around in your pocket.

Music technology is a quickly changing industry, which makes it harder and harder to keep up with all the changes. Chris and Paul at the Music Education & Technology Podcast recently got together to discuss all the changes just during this past academic year. Find out what’s new and improved in this packed episode!

Online Music Courses

So, after much searching, sifting, and comparing, you’ve finally found an online music course you’d like to dedicate your time to.

Online music coursesHow can you make sure that you remain excited, motivated, and on track?

In About Succeeding with Online Courses, we look at the most common roadblocks musicians encounter when learning online, and how to successfully maneuvre around them to make your learning experience as successful and fun as possible.

With more people beginning to take online courses, we are becoming more dependent on the various devices that we use. It can be overwhelming to try keep our smartphones and other devices organized as we put more and more information into them. Amy at Piano Pantry talks about how she organizes her devices to help them work for her.

Staying motivated and having confidence in your abilities to progress are key to being successful in any online course. Pick Up Jazz details three ways to boost your musical confidence.

Being successful in an online course requires you to have the motivation and desire to continue working through the lessons – and even repeating them when necessary. Cari Cole, an accomplished musician in her own right, discusses what she calls the 3 C’s of a Musician Mindset to help you succeed in your online course.

Finally, developing good practice habits will prove very useful in helping you progress through an online course. Practice habits are not just limited to helping you develop on your instrument – they can help develop other aspects of your musicality as well. Ross from Music and Guitar Lessons talks about learning music theory… by practicing music.

Semi-Pro

There isn’t a binary of “professional musicians” and “hobbyists” – rather, it’s a continuous spectrum where you can decide how much you want to engage with the music scene or the industry depending on your goals. And most often, success in the “professional” world comes through a long series of stepping stones.

Though it’s unrealistic to expect to sell out a venue for your first live gig, you can set a goal to spread the word about your performance enough to get a decent audience. You may not write the song of your dreams the first time you give it a go, but over time, you’ll refine your approach and see better music coming out of you. The first online music course you ever attempt may be a disaster, but your second or third is more likely to be a good fit, and leave you with a sense of accomplishment and excitement.

Figure out your smaller “stepping stones” towards your long-term goals – whether they be personal or professional – write them down, and keep a journal detailing your progress to hold yourself accountable for your practice and monitor your accomplishments.

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