Even as a child, I was certain that I would become a professional drummer. I hadn’t given any consideration to the various benefits and pitfalls of my goal – to what it would actually entail to earn money from music – but I was more than happy to envision my life as a pro musician. As an adult, I’ve learned that earning a living from performing inducts you into an incredibly erratic, multifaceted way of life.
Are you looking to do the same? If so, I recommend you to stop for a minute and ask yourself whether this lifestyle is really for you, or whether you’re simply doing it because you don’t know what to do otherwise.
Admittedly, this question is a slightly uncomfortable one, perhaps even a little unfair. When I used to hear it from others for the hundredth time, it annoyed me, too. But I strongly suggest you ask and answer it honestly at least once. If you do, you’ll save yourself unpleasant surprises later – guaranteed.
Also think about the following:
- Do you believe that drumming is the one thing you can do really well?
- Is drumming your greatest passion; the place where your calling lies?
- Is it a question of having a job that impresses your friends, or do you truly want to work as an artist?
- Do you want to become a pro musician because you think you’ll be able to lie in in the morning?
- Are you prepared to spend your last reserves of energy to secure your success?
- Have you made a realistic judgement about your chances of surviving in the music business, or have you only thought about how it would feel to achieve your dreams?
At first glance, some of these questions might seem banal. The answers are not. If what appeals to you is having the coolest or most interesting job in your group of friends, it’s my experience that the reality is often different. Working in the music business can be extremely tough, sometimes surprisingly fraught and stressful.
Perhaps you’ve already made up your mind that you want to be a drummer – but if you end up in bed sick for three days next week, are you really prepared to take the hit of lost earnings?
It’s for this reason that I pose the question one more time: do you really want to be a professional musician? Ideally, you should ask yourself this multiple times – perhaps on different days of the week and at different times of day – and be completely honest about the answer. Sometimes, we are so mesmerised with an idea or plan that we are totally unable or unwilling to see the potential problems or even the existential risks it brings. We exist in a kind of “bubble of enthusiasm” and are not capable of judging things from a realistic perspective.
When it comes to music as a profession, one thing should be completely clear – that being a musician is not easy. On the contrary: a career as a musician is hard work, sometimes even a daily struggle. But if you can make it work, it pays off.
If you are certain that music is your life and that you’ve been realistic about your chances of survival in the business, I would pose the following additional questions:
- Are you prepared to give up long holidays?
- Are you willing to set yourself daily challenges and to work to surpass your own limits?
- Do you want to lead a self-determined, fulfilled life?
- Do you want to spend your days doing things you love and feel passionate about?
If you can answer all these questions with a resounding “Yes!”, then there’s nothing stopping you. Work to make your dream a reality!
In addition, don’t worry unduly: the key to success as a professional musician is not a matter of secrecy. All you need is courage, diligence, endurance and a strong desire to make it work. To support you in your quest to succeed as a drummer, you’ll also find a good deal of tips, tricks and valuable resources on drummersblog.de.
Before I go, I want to know what you think. Do you have a burning ambition to work as a professional musician, or are you just as happy to enjoy music alongside a full-time job? Tell me about your goals and your stories – I look forward to hearing them!