Jumping Back to the 'Normal' World

The skills and experience gained through our failed musical careers are valuable and should not be overlooked or undervalued.

Ultimate Guitar
Most of us who have picked up an instrument and started a band (alternatively your own solo career), failed at it. The unfortunate reality is that most of us are not meant to make a living of our own music, and by this I don't mean necessarily being rich and famous, I mean simply making enough to pay bills as if you were working any other 9 to 5 job.

These days many of us have plan B's for when that likely failure comes and some of us don't have the previously mentioned plan B. It doesn't matter which group you belong to, but one common trend I see is that the experience of trying to make a living out of music is pretty much forgotten when jumping into the "normal" world.

Maybe we did not earn enough money from our live shows, album and merchandise sales, but we gained valuable skills that are useful in the "normal" world. Why do I mention this? Because when we make that leap back to the "normal world," we shouldn't settle for an "entry level" position. The passion, time and energy we spent trying to make a career from music gave us skills that I feel we often ignore. What skills you say? Allow me to elaborate:


During our musical career, we spend a lot of time courting venues, promoter, radio stations, labels and fans. This translates to being able to communicate effectively with people at all, if not most, levels of management, be it face-to-face, email or phone. Also, if we have managed to deal effectively with some of the freaks most of us encounter in the music business, we will be fine with the people with the fancy pants.


I am sure this applies to any genre of music, but having a good logo/brand is crucial to catch people's attention and deliver the music's message visually. Additionally, a good logo enable's people identify you and your music with ease (think of Avenged Sevenfold's bat logo). In the "normal" world, our creative juices and our experience with branding is a gold mine, don't let that go to waste.


From flyering to social media to music videos, we learn how to reach the people we want to reach and engage with them. In addition to product placement and playing videos/promotional material through the right channels. Have you seen how many ads we get on YouTube, Facebook and normal television? This skill speaks for itself.


If you were the manager or managed your band/project, you basically took care of all the above or delegated all of the above. This translates to: You had a vision, you knew what you needed to get a certain result, and finally you got your result.


This goes with the previous point: No matter how far you went in your career, at one point you were solely responsible for everything from booking shows, studio time, writing music, making sure your order your merch on time, and well the list goes on and varies. Most jobs out there require you to be able to balance the workload and get things done on time. Maybe being good with time management is not something musicians are good at (stereotypically), but if you were more power to you.

Whilst I am sure that there could be many more skills you acquired that are valuable outside of music, these are the skills that I personally acquired (realised that I had acquired only recently). The point that I am trying to make is that although we did not achieve the success we wanted/hoped for, we gained valuable skills and experience (life and professional) that should not be overlooked or undervalued.

And lastly, don't ever stop making music, if others are not interested do it at least for your own self-satisfaction. Now, get on with the praising and/or hating.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    This reminds me a little bit of the "Mom told me to go back to college" speech.
    hahaha more like 'well the band went to shit, luckily I learned something that is useful outside of music', I already did my time and I am not going to school ever, thanks for reading and for the comment