When you want to improve your skill, whatever it is, you must be consistent. A programmer must code everyday to improve, a graphic designer must practice consistently in order to improve and a photographer must practice daily to improve. Music is no different; the more you practice, the more you improve.
As a musician, practicing your instrument or doing vocal trainings daily for 90min will give you much better results, compared to trying to practice 7 hours a day once a week.
If you want be a better musician, you have to start treating your music and yourself as a business, and in I lay down just a few things you should be doing daily to improve your skill.
1. Learn to play at least one music Instrument
Many artistes in Uganda call themselves musicians yet they are actually not. For you to be a musician, you must be able to play at least one musical instrument. This helps you connect with the music you do and even the band while on stage.
Once you learn, make every effort to practice on a daily basis. Sacrifice those 90min in the bar and connect with your instrument. We all see the connection and love that musicians like Maurice Kirya, Irene Ntale, Afrigo Band’s Moses Matovu and Isiah Katumwa have towards their instruments; its an extension of their craft and once you separate them, you wont get the same results, they are like twins.
For those who are not naturally into practicing, well, just sit with your instrument, play with it and see what comes out. The goal here is for you to spend time and connect with your twin (instrument).
2. Learn to critically listen to music.
When you critically and deeply listen to music, you gain a deeper understanding. As a musician, you should be doing things differently from how a fan does it. Remember, this is your business, not a hobby. Do not listen to music casually while doing other stuff.
When you’re feeling down and uninspired to make music, listen to the deep lyrical musicians, you might pick a single lyric that will strike you like lightning and force you into the booth. So, never stop listening to music but indulge in it also.
3. Attend to your emails and messages.
The industry moves at a terrific speed. If you leave someone hanging, you will lose out on opportunities. If you’re the type who’s slow about communication, you’re definitely going to have a hard time in the music business.
For a fan taking time off their schedule to drop a message, the least you can do is to reply. This creates a sense of gratitude in the fan’s head that you do really care.
I know many will say “But I receive like 300 messages daily! I just can’t be on phone all the time.” Hey, it’s all about managing your time. Personally, I prefer attending to all my inbox messages in the morning between 8 and 9am then move on to other tasks of the day.
Just find time to attend to your fans. That fan, besides being your fan, could book you for the next gig.
4. Treat your music career as a business.
For you to keep your job anywhere, you must show up for work. It’s the same thing with music; if all you do is show up in the booth and for performances, trust me, you will stay stagnant.
If you want it badly, find the time and energy to make it happen. Endeavor to contact a new promoter everyday. Establish contact with venues, spaces and potential connections. Contact media houses, journalists, bloggers or broadcast hosts. Write new material. Engage your graphic designer to create fresh layouts for the next quarter. Turn up, make it happen and you will see the results.
5. Set short and long term goals.
Having a plan is the only way to succeed in any line of work. You must be knowing what you want to achieve in 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years and so on, and you should be doing something everyday to make it happen.
Artistes who don’t have a plan are the ones you find panicking to do a Christmas song on December 21st as if they didn’t know that the Christmas season happens every year! Sit down and create a content creation strategy that you can follow and implement.
These, my friends, are just but my personal and humble zero-brain opinions. If you do not agree with me or them, I do not take offence; everyone is entitled to an opinion. The bottom line is that the most important thing is treating your music career as a business. Once you do, you will notice everything starting to fall in place.
Drop those comments and let’s engage on this. See you next Friday.