A Day in The Life Of A Full Time Musician (pre-corona!)
So what is a full time musician? I would define that as someone who does not have a day job or part time job... they’re sole income is from music. On top of that, they are making ends meet and making more than they’re spending, which should be about 50k plus per year considering Australian current living costs if you want your own place, holidays etc.
This doesn’t include other streams of income which be can generated from things like real estate, stocks, passive income streams and business ideas.. this blog is purely about your service as a musician.
Also this 'day in the life' is my ideal day- meaning that sometimes I’m caught doing just one thing for several days (like mixing) and this schedule goes out the window. But if I don’t - which is usually 3 days a week - I’ll do this!!
Sometimes I don’t feel like musicians actually realise they work from home for a most of the week, and aren’t immune to the challenges that any home business or entrepreneur would face.
Things like distraction, procrastination, not feeling like you want to do it, long breaks and getting side tracked. Personally I have to get out first thing in the day, go for a walk. Start by 9am. I find if I don’t do this, I’m slow and the day doesn’t go well.
Hope you find some value - if you do I’d love to hear your comments below. ENJOY
Morning - Actually Playing Music
So much of what we do today is done in front of the computer, I have gone through stages when I haven’t touched my guitar due to commitments with emails etc.
I like to practice first thing in the day at 9am. depending where you are at with your craft and focus areas, this could be 1 to 5 hours, but ideally I like to spend the first half of the day around music.
Now your practice schedule is up to you….. Mine revolves around Berklee Modern Method Vol. 1 warm up, then revisions and new stuff in Vol. 1, 2 and 3. Then I’ll go to transcribing a song that I might perform that week at the gigs, or learning songs for an event that week.
Or if I’m feeling creative, I’ll go into working on the latest original song and this depends on if I’m working on a release or not - sometimes this time is used for mixing, mastering or finishing something for a deadline.
After this - BREAK and go outside!
Afternoon session! Focus on the money!
This is where I do all the tasks associated with bringing the money in. For me, it’s all about gigs and my google spreadsheet which works 12 months in advance. My goal is to have it filled. I have big gigs that are booked in like a festival or private event, then I work around those with other types of gigs, national and international tours.
I input weekly residencies and update the online gig schedule in Bandsintown, and do a little booking for other artists also through my own booking stable. I mark out dates where I’d like to tour overseas and constantly shape the year with breaks and holidays.
I also would apply for festivals, and any opportunities that come my way through regularly checking APRA and other music business related web sites. The calendar would also include any music related activity like gigs or industry events. Generally if a month ahead is empty.. it’s a focus area and I work on that month. I also reply to emails with clients/venues, send emails, remind students about lessons that week and email any new venues/people that I have met or heard about. After this I’m usually done - So I work on a 5 to 7 hour day unless I’m in the studio or finishing some other project. I also teach 1 day a week - so this time is also used for lesson prep, communicating with students and making sure my day is filled there too
Weekly Tasks! GOALS & OUTCOMES I work really well with set outcomes for the week. Usually 3 or 5 outcomes. These fit into a larger vision of goals for the quarter and year, which fit into a larger vision of your overall direction.
Every quarter I will assess my projected income against what I actually made, and see if I’m on track. This practice has been vital to surviving and progressing for me as being self-employed. If I don’t assess how i’m going, I’ll most likely have a bad quarter. You have to be on top of it or it won’t workout and you’ll complain about there not being enough money in your account and onto Seek you go! For me it can seem like spinning plates etc. I’ve essentially got 3 businesses inside the music business.
In priority they are: 1. My original project - songwriting, recording, releasing, touring, merch, royalties and collaboration.. 2. Music Teaching - passing on all my skills and knowledge to others, through music lessons, workshops and a blog. 3. Booking high paying covers gigs in private spaces like corporate functions and playing Sunday sessions etc. It can take years to get all 3 plates spinning, but for me, this is how I think of it and how it works for me. My 3 music businesses are below. Original project www.jarrahthompson.com
- J -