8 Simple Things To Hinder Your career

Ah, being a musician is the life. You work hard at it, and the rewards can be many. But a simple misstep can throw it all away in an instant.  Here is a short list of things NOT to do:


  1. Don't break your word. A promise is a promise. I learned the hard way. I once begged off a gig I was committed to because I had received a "better offer." Well, things didn't work out quite the way I had hoped. The gig I left apparently didn't go so well without me and I lost a friend because of it. The "better" gig I took turned out to be rather lame and wasn't better at all. Lesson learned…
  2. Don't act like a star/diva/jerk/dick head. No matter what term you use, nobody likes to work with someone who thinks they are bigger and better than those around them. This goes for band mates, managers, promoters, and even fans. Treat all people you meet with decency—that will go a long way and be remembered.
  3. Don't think you are too big/good enough you don't need to work at it. Yes, you've been doing this for years, but like an athlete, you need to stay in shape, stay at the top of your game. Don't show up at rehearsal thinking you can just wing it, when everyone else has been working hard to get their parts down.
  4. Don't be lazy. OK, so only 5 people showed up to your gig. Don't be lazy and just go through the motions. Look at it as an opportunity to really do your best and wow those 5 people so much they become lifelong fans, who in turn tell everybody what an amazing show they missed. The next time you come back to the same venue/town, you should have a much bigger audience.
  5. Don't play all drunk/stoned/out of your head. I shouldn't have to mention this at all. You might think you are playing amazingly, while your bandmates are struggling to play along with you. I once had to fire a bass player in the middle of a gig because he was so drunk. We carried on without him…
  6. Don't be late. I repeat, don't be late! This should be a no brainer, but I'm always surprised by how many musicians pop in 5 minutes before the gig starts and have some sort of lame excuse. Plan accordingly for traffic, etc. and arrive EARLY. I like to get there early enough I can set up and then take a break, relax, and get my mind ready for the gig.
  7. Don't talk shit about other musicians/bands/managers/producers. I'm sure you wouldn't want people talking shit about you, so don't about others. Besides, you never know what sort of opportunities will come up in the future. You may need to work with someone you have said stuff about. Maybe someone you've said stuff about will be in a position to hire you, and then pass because of what you've said.
  8. Don't forget that it's about the music! Yes, there's fame & fortune, travel, media, etc, etc, etc. But don't EVER forget that it's about the music. If you ever lose sight of the music, then it's time to get out and get that day job…
Now go make some music…

~MB

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