This post was written more than two years ago. The content or information below may no longer be accurate.
New Year’s Eve is always billed to be the best night of the year. You spend weeks planning what you’re going to be doing – finding the right club, the biggest party, the ideal company to spend it with – but more often than not, for whatever reason, it turns out to be a bust.
But the great thing about it is that you are ending the year. So if the last one maybe didn’t finish so well, you can look forward to the next – you have a whole year to make sure it’s going to be better. As a musician, there are loads of things you can do to improve your prospects, maybe New Year 2020 you’ll be playing a gig instead of watching one, but it won’t happen by itself.
New Year Resolutions – some might look down on the concept, but making a new start as you enter January could be exactly what you need.
Upping Your Game
The first thing you can do is take a look at how you can improve your craft. There is a theory that says you need 10,000 hours to become an expert at anything. Now, you literally can’t get all of them done in a year (unless you can somehow find a way to make your days 27 hours and never sleep), but more likely than not you’re well on your way. Work to find a way to set aside a few hours every day to practice – learn what all the different plugins you haven’t used can do, try and improve your technique with a new genre every month – redouble your efforts wherever you think you’re weakest.
Fixing yourself goals will keep you on track, and it’s a lot easier to stay focussed when you see yourself achieving things as the year progresses.
Outside The Music
Of course, the business side of music is a large part of being a musician – so outside of honing your craft, look for ways to increase your income. Booking gigs is the best way to get your name out there, so start exploring round your local music scene for opportunities – get in contact with promoters and network with other musicians.
You should also make sure your online profile is as high quality as it can be. Your portfolio should have all your best work uploaded; be active on social media – these are all easy ways to broaden your opportunities.
Out And About And Around
Make sure you take full advantage of ACM’s Industry Link department. Run along the terms of ACM’s Learn By Doing Ethos, Industry Link works to provide students and alums with as much real-world music industry experience as possible.
Among the myriad of functions the department provides are networking events, finding internships for students and sourcing auditions for function bands and freelancing opportunities.
ACM also has links with various external networking events both at home and abroad. BBC Introducing Live returned to great success in October last year, with students performing and getting involved with workshops. The Great Escape runs in Brighton in May and is a hotspot for industry professionals and up and coming bands. ACM also sends a delegation of students to France’s MIDEM, so contact your tutor to find out how you can get involved.
Check out this blog if you need some tips on how to get networking.
Focus On Your Studies
Kickstarting your career in the music industry is ACM’s end goal, but you also need to make sure you’re finding time to complete all your studies. Your essays and exams are important now so you can achieve the best grades and learn as much as possible.
This is another area where setting yourself goals is key. If you have an exam approaching, organise yourself a study schedule – after you’ve practiced your technique for a few hours, set down and do some revision.
Get Healthy, Stay Healthy
Finally, a healthy mind and body will take your productivity to new levels. These days we’re bombarded from all sides with great ways to stay healthy, but it doesn’t mean that you need to completely mix up your lifestyle – a few simple changes can really make all the difference. Lots of people try and do ‘Dry January’ where they stop drinking alcohol for the whole month. But complete abstinence doesn’t usually work, so if you’re a big partier, try and modify how much you drink and keep that up for the whole year.
The music industry, by its very nature, tends to end up with a lot of late nights. If you’re playing a gig, there’s a good chance you won’t be getting home until late. When possible, however, try and get to bed at around the same time every day, and don’t lie in all day if you don’t have lessons or work to get to. Fixing your sleep schedule so you get your 8 hours of sleep a night on the whole can do wonders for your health.
ACM is here to give you as much support as possible to get your career going, but the Academy can only do so much. These are all general ideas that you can try to help out over the coming year, but take some time to think of something unique to yourself to help out over the coming year. The most important thing to do is keep to the goals that you set – statistically, less than one in ten will keep to their New Year Resolutions. And don’t forget, January 1st isn’t the only time that you can make a resolution to change – if you think of a new way you can improve in the middle of June, get going on it!
If you dream of achieving success in the creative industries, come along to one of our Open Days. We can’t wait to see what our alumni do next – and we’d love to welcome you into the ACM community.