Professionalism is one of those things that isn’t explicitly taught in the music industry but is expected for you to exercise! I remember one day realizing that there is no H.R. handbook, professional development or orientation for working as a music creative. You’re just kind of expected to “be professional.” That being said, here is my second actionable and practical tip to exercising professionalism and stay booked and working: goal setting!
Are You Aligned?
Are your mind, body and soul in alignment with what you want or is only one being served? If only one is being served, it may not be the right time. If you want to be married, have you asked yourself why? How will your mind, body and soul benefit from marriage? Are you in a position to give all of the things you desire in addition to the specific needs of a mate?
"I want a Grammy!"
What will a Grammy do for your career at this very point? Furthermore, is a Grammy a realistic goal based on where you are in your career? Do you even know the full process to winning a Grammy?
Sorry to rain on your parade, but translating your dreams to tangible goals is both a detailed and rigorous process. Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals brings intentionality to that process! Aside from money, what do I want to learn or gain from your gigs and projects. At the end of the day, as long as you work ANY job, you’ll be compensated so if you’re going to take on the unpredictability of being a working musician, why not be intentional about what you want to learn or gain!
When I started doing wedding gigs, my goals aside from money were:
1. To expand my vocal range, specifically my lower register
I could sing in the rafters all day, every day because I was trained to do that as a younger soprano. This gig required me to sing a lot of genres in a short amount of time and to be able to sing them accurately.
2. To be able to sing all genres in original keys, comfortably (that was a requirement for the band)
My very first wedding band gig didn't change keys. If it was too high, you had to figure it out. *shrug* This stretched me to better understand placement and how to sing anything even if it was out of my range.
3. To build my stamina as a performer
A 4-hour gig is a LONG time gig! It sounds short but in a 4-hour wedding reception, I sang for at least 3 of those whether background vocals or leads. Then I also worked primarily in New Jersey while living in New York City without a car. This would add 2 hours to my gig day on both ends sometimes: 2 hours to get there, 1 hour of soundcheck, 4-hour gig, 2 hours home: that's NINE HOURS!! I needed some stamina to get through those and to safely commute!
When I joined Cory Henry’s tour, my goals were:
1. To learn how to build independent tours (finances, merch, hacks/corner cuts)
Every day on the tour bus, I was awake early in the front of the bus with the tour manager. He would be working on logistics and I would be working on my social media and business affairs. By virtue of us being the only ones awake, I could ask him any business questions I wanted! I asked about merch and little tour hack on gear and endorsements!
2. To learn how to create passive income consistently.
You become forced to secure income outside of touring when you can’t physically be on tour and gigging other places. For me, that was editting a friend's blog, teaching voice lessons, and I began pre-sales for merch to be able to sell as soon as I was home.
3. To build professional relationships & gain mentors
Cory Henry was a child prodigy organist! He is a dynamic performer, innovative creative and a man of integrity. Touring with him was not only like school every night but it was FUN! He has become a friend who I can ask for advice and even continue to create with. He has come to my shows as an artist and been available to talk to about life in general!
Check out my Tour VLOG from the Live in Love Tour in 2019!
Goal-Setting is a really important key to ensuring a consistent stream of work as a musician. If nothing else, you want to leave each gig having gained more skills and as a better musician than you were before you started the gig!