The Musician Career - 3 stages to Success

Think a musician career is for you?

Congratulations! I applaud you and believe you can do it.

You are smart to be here searching for good advice.

I encourage you to notice traits of successful musicians. They show up regularly if you know where to look.


Successful musicians have similar career strategies and patterns. If they work for others, they will probably work for you too.

These patterns form the weeks, months and years of preparation that grow you from wannabe to professional.

Success Leaves Clues

A friend of mine just auditioned to be in the live band for an Emmy Award-winning TV show.

He got the gig. (*Look for an exclusive interview after he tapes the first season!)

We were talking just hours he got the congratulatory call. He said something that is packed with musical wisdom, and the key to his success.

“I can see how everything I've done has led to this point in my career –

the schooling, the shedding and all the gigs.”

Schooling, Shedding and Gigging.

He outlines the 3-step process that I call Learn – Do – Become.

Musician Career Phase 1 – Learn

This is when you learn the basics of your craft.

This is where you learn vocabulary, technique, tone production and more.

It's scales, exercises, learning from others, taking lessons, asking questions and practice, practice, practice.

Musician Career Phase 2 – Do

Learning should transition into doing

It's no longer about How to do it – it's about When to do it.

"You stop just playing the notes - and make music."

Your music moves from the practice room to the marketplace.

Then, after you've done a thousand gigs in front of every kind of audience imaginable, something happens...

Musician Career Phase 3 – Become

You become an artist, instead of imitating one.

You play, sing, compose, engineer, produce and it is effortless:

  • your instincts take over
  • your musical intuition is right
  • You don't hesitate or over-think.

It's your sound, your voice, your art, your way.

You no longer wait for permission. You are the musician you want to be.

mistakes are ok - even good!

The musician life is not a straight line.

Our plans don't always work out the way we expected. But even the mistakes teach you.

Guitarist and singer/songwriter, John Mayer went to Berklee to improve his guitar playing. It didn't take long to see it wasn't a good fit.

Here is a great interview with Mayer as he shares that Berklee wasn't right for him. Was it a mistake?

Maybe. But, the benefits were huge. He was able to then more clearly define his goals.

Preparation & Opportunity

Want to be an overnight success like John Mayer?(kidding of course)

Easy!  Just clock in years of learning, practicing, shedding, writing & recording,  have 1000's of gigs and musical experiences – and it can happen.

The Learn, Do, Become process  is the educational pattern that all great musicians go through.

It's the school of training that takes you from dream to opportunity..

Excuses or motivation?

You can build a musician career, but it's not a quick fix. As my friend said,

“everything I've done has led to this point in my career.”

  • It is a journey.
  • It is a process.
  • It's not a straight line.
  • Patience is a virtue.

There will be failures and mistakes, but you can choose to use them for empowerment, not unemployment.

LEARN the basic tools you need, DO the creative work to grow as an artist, and BECOME the musician you know you can be.

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