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So many people want to succeed in the music business, but they don't themselves a chance. This page can't guarantee success, but your chances are improving already. First you need an ambition. Let's put a few of the most desirable careers in order of preference:
Now you need to consider what your chances are of success in each of these.
Hmm. That should have sorted quite a few people out.
To Have A Band
Let's drop down the ladder a rung. When I say 'have a band', I mean be the leader, or perhaps co-leader. It's your band and the other members will gladly do things the way you want.
So, assuming that you are not kidding yourself about your abilities, you can make a start. Do these things:
Playing In A Band
This can be a great option for some people, if the band is successful of course:
Of course you have to have something to offer:
You have to find a band to play with of course, led by someone exceptional. Elvis would do.
The problem with this situation is that people commonly get too big for their boots. After several years of doing this they just can't stand being in second place all the time. They get troublesome, perhaps leave the band, squander their money, hit the bottle and die penniless. It is only really dedicated players of their instrument that really succeed in this role.
Many people are attracted to the role of producer because it sounds sexy, but they don't really know what it involves. OK, let's translate it into language people do understand. How about becoming a film director? You could be Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott - hey you could even be Orson Welles! You know this is going to be difficult. It's obvious that you need to know a hell of a lot to be a film director. Well it's just as hard to be a record producer, and don't kid yourself that it isn't. This isn't the place to tell you how to do it, but you could start by reading 'How To Become A Record Producer'. You can see it listed over on the left.
Having an ambition to become a songwriter is a good thing. Why? Because you can do it and hold down a regular job at the same time. Everything we have mentioned so far requires complete, 100%, every-minute-of-the-day dedication. This is not to say that you don't have to be dedicated to become a songwriter, but you can turn it on and off as long as you stick to a reasonably frequent and regular schedule.
We're getting more realistic by the minute. You have to be lucky to get the chance to become a recording engineer, and once you get the chance, you are going to have to be very dedicated to learn your trade properly. But if you do land a trainee job in a pro studio, it's all there for you if you want it enough. And you could progress to being a producer. There are only two tricks to getting a job in a studio. The first is to prove your commitment by going on an audio course. The course has to be realistic, not fill you full of hot air and SSL consoles, and offer you the means to prove your dedication. Audio Masterclass's distance learning courses are recommended. Courses that offer internships can also be good, as long as you project the right attitude (humble and eager to please) while you are in the studio.
Once you have got your proof of commitment in place, you should write lots of letters to studios. That's how most engineers get in. They strike lucky and their letter lands on the manager's desk the same day a vacancy arises (usually because the last trainee didn't make the grade). You can also try asking to visit the studio, without pressuring for a job. This has worked in the past, and could work again. Aim to write to every studio there is. When you have written to them all, start back at the top of your list again.
Live Sound Engineer
Now we are talking realistic. Live sound isn't perceived as being as sexy as studio work, therefore there is much more chance that your determination and tenacity will get you a trainee job. Make sure you get into the kind of company you want to work for, then be a great employee and work your way up. Good training in sound engineering, as opposed to recording engineering, can only help. Once again, check out Audio Masterclass.
To Work Around Music
At the end of the day, to achieve any of the above is always going to be tough. Few people will achieve their dreams. However, there are many opportunities to work around music, and that can be as satisfying and pay as well as any regular job. Why be a trainee manager at a store, when you could be a trainee publishing assistant, just to take one example? It's all up to you. All you need is to want it enough...