Updated: Mar 8, 2020
There is no Plan B if you ever want to get ahead in music. If you do have a Plan B, that is where you'll end up. I should know. For over 30 years, I've tried to have it both ways (have a job, and do music). And in the end, Bait & Switch has taken nearly 30 years to make.
When I was a kid, I listened to the adults around me. "Go to college, get good grades, get a good job, settle down, get married, start a family. You'll never make it in the Music Business. There's too much competition."
And now, at age 55, I'm trying to get back to where I was before I went to college and got good grades for my retirement plan. I wish I got the message to just go for it. Even if I failed, I think I'd be further ahead. I'm not saying that I'd change anything about my life today, other than learning to go for it earlier in life.
(As a side note, when I was 17, I challenged 34 college students at Oklahoma State who had music theory in a 40 question quiz and placed 4th...with no formal training in theory. Clearly as a high school student, I was in the top 15% even without the formal education. But life happened. I had to move to New Jersey, make new friends, join the Army, blah, blah, blah...)
The reason people say these things is because they love you. They don't want you to fail. What happens, then? You never fail because you've never tried to succeed. You end up learning to play it safe, get a job, work for someone else and end up like everyone else. What was special about your music and your dreams has been traded in for the illusion of safety.
Machines are taking the jobs the middle class used to enjoy, and pay in those jobs is stagnant, and those jobs pay the most in taxes. Is it really a good strategy playing it safe?
By pursuing your dreams in music, everything you buy for it is tax deductible. Your food, your clothing, your guitar...all of it. Your music lessons, posters, merchandise, travel expenses, office space, video equipment. All of it is tax deductible. This is the government's way of saying, "Go For It! Pursue your happiness!"
Chasing your dream makes you your own boss. And on top of that, when you're big enough, you can employ others. You can go from a small business to a big business. And you can help others along the way by telling your story at gigs, and so on. You can inspire others to make art. I mean, who dreams of being the accounts receivable manager at Walmart? Surely, no one I know.
Believe it or not, this is why I'm a KISS fan. The band always tells you to go for it and join them on the stage! But where do you start?
If you want to begin learning how to sing, play guitar, write better music, and make a living in music, try these links. These folks have been my mentors for years. I would not be here without them.