Rock big stages across the globe, sign autographs, and hang out with your friends on the road.  Being a rockstar sounds like the dream job, but there’s a big gap between an aspiring musician and Bruce Springsteen, filled with an incredible amount of work. It’s no secret the music industry is one of the most competitive and difficult to navigate industries there is, and there’s no discounting pure and simple luck.

However, with the right preparation, talent and a little luck, you too can reach for the stars. This article will help you get started on your music career. So if you are a beginner, a hobbyist, or even if you’ve never touched a musical instrument a day in your life, read on to learn exactly what it takes to elevate your music to unforetold heights.

Rock big stages across the globe, sign autographs, and hang out with your friends on the road.  Being a rockstar sounds like the dream job, but there’s a big gap between an aspiring musician and Bruce Springsteen, filled with an incredible amount of work. It’s no secret the music industry is one of the most competitive and difficult to navigate industries there is, and there’s no discounting pure and simple luck.

However, with the right preparation, talent and a little luck, you too can reach for the stars. This article will help you get started on your music career. So if you are a beginner, a hobbyist, or even if you’ve never touched a musical instrument a day in your life, read on to learn exactly what it takes to elevate your music to unforetold heights.

1. Choose Your Instrument

Electric Guitar

Before thinking about the tour bus or what the backstage of Coachella will look like, you have to figure out what you want to be rocking in front of thousands of fans. If you haven’t already decided what your instrument of choice will be, it is time to do some research. You can learn any music instrument in the world but you can’t master them all. It’s time to see which music instrument speaks to you.

If you are a singer by nature, then you already know your instrument. If you’re torn between the guitar, the keyboard, the drums, the bass, or any other instrument then go to your local music store and start browsing. Hold the guitar, hit the drums, pretend you are rocking the flute. If you’re lucky, the instrument will speak to you as soon as you touch it, so let the musician in you naturally make the choice. If that inner voice is saying, “Guitar”, then I recommend checking out the Best Acoustic Guitars of 2016. If your heart is set on an electric guitar, I’ve got you covered with the Best Beginner Electric Guitars.

2. Master Your Instrument

If you ask any professional musician, music instructor, or anyone who knows how to play more than three chords on the guitar, what the best way to master an instrument is, they will all tell you to play it, play it again and then play it some more. Learning how to play an instrument is similar to learning how to speak a new language and like anything in life, practice makes perfect. Start by going on YouTube and exploring all the free resources on there.

Don’t rush the learning process, stay consistent, and practice daily. The best way to get better is to establish a daily routine to play your instrument. Be a student, build a strong foundation, learn the basics and then master them. Once you have a solid foundation, start raising the bar higher and make music part of your everyday. You may not always notice an increase in your skill level, but trust the process and keep practicing. And remember that it takes time.

3. Jam with a Group

Playing your instrument alone is one thing. Playing with a group is a whole different animal. When you’re playing without any other musicians it’s easy to abandon the piece you’re playing.  You’re not committed to a certain tempo and you can always keep “noodling” when you’re unable to remember what comes next.

At first, you will feel tremendous pressure because you don’t want to be the reason everyone stops playing and starts over. But, just like when you first started playing, practice makes perfect. After a number of jam sessions you will get much better at keeping up with timing and tempo. You’ll also start to gain a better understanding of your instrument when blended in with other instruments. Then the music will flow.

4. Find Band Members

Finding band members is often the hardest part of becoming a rock god. Having a successful band is more than just having four or five musicians who are extremely good at playing their instruments. Think of your band members as a family where commitment, and even love are essential for success. Plan on sharing plenty with these members, from a place to sleep, to food, to, eventually and hopefully, money.

Be sure you connect with your band members musically and not just on a personal level. Don’t be afraid to find band members on the web—there are plenty of sites to help. They don’t have to be friends. In fact, sometimes being in a band with your best friends can end up taking a toll on your friendship. Music is an art and when you share your art with various people, you tend to get protective and frustrated when it is not painted exactly how it is in your head.

Drums

5. Shape Your Band

If you don’t join an existing band then this will be extremely fun for you. Shaping your band will be the first step in deciding how you will present your skills and art to the audience. Decide on what type of music you want to be rocking and make sure you make this decision as a band. And be careful of choosing to be a cover band. There are extremely successful cover bands out there, but you will never be able to truly break through if you are playing song written by someone else.

If you decide that you do want to cover songs, then be sure you do it well; no one likes to listen to “Stairway to Heaven” done horribly. If you decide to write your own songs, then don’t rush the music, it will show in the song. The best way to write music as a group is to establish some ground rules and let everyone take responsibility for their own instruments. For instance, if you decide you don’t want any guitar solos in your music then establish that, but let the guitarist write the guitar parts. Don’t try to control every piece of the music; trust your bandmates.

6. Set Up Band Practice

If you want people to take time out of their day to listen to your music, you have to present it in the best way possible. It doesn’t matter how catchy the song is if it isn’t well rehearsed. The major difference between a professional musician and one that plays at bars is that the professional plays every song tightly, on time and transitions perfectly onto the next one. Set up band practice regularly and be sure to stick to the schedule. Meet with your bandmates before or after practice to discuss where everyone stands. There is more drama in bands than in most relationships, so remember to communicate openly and honestly. Practice until you’re almost sick of your songs, so that when you play it comes out smooth. Pro tip: practice the live show, including anytime the singer will talk between songs, nothing is more embarrassing than playing your music well but bombing on the things you say in between.

7. Book Gigs

Electric Piano

The moment of truth is finally here, you’re ready to play in front of an audience. Booking gigs is much easier than you think and while you won’t be playing with Led Zeppelin right away, you can still get yourself in front of some people and play. In the early stages of your rockstar career you need to play as much as you possibly can. You may think you will be able to rock the crowd, but the first time you play in front of a live audience, chances are good that a huge adrenaline dump will have you struggle just to keep focus. Most of the concert theaters or bars that play live music have a section on their websites for booking, so contact them and send them a bio for your band along with the shows you would like to get on.

There are two types of gigs for new bands: bar gigs and pay-to-play. Start by playing small bars as this will allow you to get all the nerves out, without the pressure of needing to sell tickets. When you feel like you are ready to play in front of a bigger crowd, then start booking gigs that will give you a certain amount of tickets to sell. You can sell the tickets for more money to make profit but in this stage you just want to prove to the venues that you can bring people in so they eventually ask you to play without needing to sell tickets.

8. Find a Manager

The biggest mistake amateur musicians make is hiring one of their close friends to be their manager, which means they end up being managed by a great guy with no music or business experience. A band manager should be someone that will help you achieve your ultimate goal of becoming a professional rockstar. By this stage you will be a bit deeper into the music scene, which is a result of playing live, practicing at various studios and just constantly talking and being around music. You can send your bio to management agencies but the best way to find a manager is by meeting one at a live show. Be sure to interview the manager and ask yourself what they can do to help you. Meet with them often and always discuss the next move for the band.

9. Showcase Often

If you’ve chosen a successful band manager you should be getting showcase calls soon. Your manager will start reaching out to record labels and try to set up a showcase for your band. Until this happens you need to be practicing, playing live and coming up with new materials. When your manager sends packages to the record labels and actually captures their attention, you will either showcase in a practice studio or they will show up at your next live show. Showcasing in a practice studio will feel awkward because you won’t get the energy you usually get from the audience. If you have a showcase set up at a live show, be sure to ask all your friends and their friends to show up. Record labels love when the audience interacts with the band they are looking at so be don’t be shy about asking for favors from your friends in the audience.

10. Sign the Deal—OR…

Every musician dreams of the day they get to sign a deal but not all deals are good. This is your final chance to make one last investment in your music career; hire a lawyer. It is crucially important you hire a professional music lawyer to look at the deal. Believe it or not 99% of record deals are written as a first offer, which means they expect you to counter the offer. With that in mind, know they are shooting for the moon.

Lawyers may be expensive but they can save you a tremendous amount of money in the long run, time. Signing a record deal is not your only option. Many artists go the independent route. If you have full faith in your music and you feel like you’re gaining fans at each show you play, consider using social media to further your reach and build a fanbase that’s willing to help you produce and record your music independently. Kickstarter and Patreon are fantastic ways to do so.

Becoming a rockstar requires a lot more than just rocking out. Music is a huge industry. And with an industry this size business can easily ruin the art. Make sure you always have fun because to produce music that fans want to hear, you must keep the art alive. Always keep a great relationship with music venues, which could mean you get better spots at bigger shows. In the end, don’t ever stop practicing, don’t stop evolving, keep playing and believe in your rockstar-self.

2017-04-16T21:37:22+00:00

About the Author:

Karen Y. was said to have been singing and dancing in the womb. While that may not be true, her passion for music has existed since she can remember. Name an instrument and she’s played it. Name a genre and she loves it. There’s no type of music to which she can’t play or listen.