Create Your Own Jobs
In a world where auditioning for orchestras is a gamble no matter your skill level, you must prepare yourself to be the talent and the manager. Let’s find out what entrepreneurship means and how you can make it happen.
Before we get started let’s see if this guide can help you.
This lesson in entrepreneurship is perfect for:
• Middle school students thinking about a career in music.
• High school students thinking about a career in music.
• College students currently working on a music degree.
• College students not working on a music degree but thinking about switching to one.
• Advanced degree students currently working on a music degree.
• Comeback musicians who are ready to make music a bigger part of their lives.
In this guide we will cover:
✓ The meaning of entrepreneurship.
✓ Examples of real life music entrepreneurs who have made an impact in their and other’s lives.
✓ Ideas and suggestions for each age group on how to get started being a music entrepreneur.
✓ Tips and life lessons on music entrepreneurship.
Now let's answer the big question; what is an entrepreneur?
Simply put, in the world of business, an entrepreneur is a person who sees a problem, identifies the solution and makes it a reality. That’s it, and don’t overthink it. Let’s check out examples of real-life music entrepreneurs:
Yes, that’s me and I’d like to share my story with you. When I graduated college with my Master’s degree in Trumpet Performance I decided to setup my own business, which was something I’d been wanting to do for a long time. I wanted to setup a private lesson studio that taught trumpet playing through the power of athletic thinking, ranking systems and inspiration, but I felt like my ideas where everywhere. I needed a jump start. So, I went to a music entrepreneurship retreat which cost me about $200 after my friends and family kindly donated to my gofundme campaign, got a lot of ideas, and shortly after I setup my website. The website setup cost $60 for the domain and a year of hosting. I sat down and created the entire website in 2 days, putting in about 10 hours a day and then started sharing it like crazy on social media. The response I got was overwhelming. People in the city I lived in where noticing I existed, they liked my idea and praised my website. It was such a great feeling seeing that other people shared my excitement. Overtime, the studio grew, becoming a full-time job, and as of today I’ve taught over 5,000 trumpet lessons and counting. The business I created was called MusicFit Academy, it’s alive and thriving, and you can see it for yourself at my website below.
- I’m a music entrepreneur because I had an idea for a business, took on the risks, and made it happen. I created my own job.
- I created a teaching business because there is a necessity for it and I’m good at it. I took my strengths, trumpet playing and teaching, and put them together.
- Attending the retreat and surrounding myself with like-minded people definitely inspired me.
- The start-up cost was only $260. If you’re young, this might seem like a lot of money, but in reality its pocket change for start-up costs. Don’t forget that nowadays it’s easy to raise money with sites like gofundme!
- The most important factor in the success of my business is my website. Without a website I am invisible. Remember, your website is the door between you and the rest of the world.
The first thing I need to say about Buddy is that he is not only a fantastic trumpet player, but he is a genuine good person. He went to school thrice, got a Bachelors, Master’s degree and Artist Diploma in Trumpet Performance, dedicated himself to trumpet as much as possible, made good impressions on people and took as many music opportunities as he could. During this time of exposure was crucial to who he is today, because that’s when he realized he wanted to always be challenged and to experience new things in life. So in 2013, while in school, he founded the Fredericksburg Brass Institute alongside his good friend and trumpet player Austin Boyer. The first year they had 10 attendees, and today, only 5 years later, it has grown into a go-to summer program for brass players. Founding the institute gave Buddy’s name more weight, he was now the founder of a brass institute! This boosted his reputation and confidence, which has led to the founding of other programs like the Tidewater Brass Institute and The Entrepreneurial Student. Today, Buddy is a trumpet player with the Dallas Brass, a performing artist for XO Brass, Denis Wick and Smith Watkins Cornets, and a national clinician. He also rocks Torpedo Bags as a professional artist for them. On a side note, Torpedo Bags are awesome sauce.
- Buddy is a music entrepreneur because he creates his own opportunities.
- Buddy’s strengths are his musical talent, charisma and self motivation. He is successful because he is using his strengths to his benefit.
- Buddy says, “The most important factor in my current success comes from making good impressions on the people I meet and the music community.” Remember that everything you do and say will either help you or hurt you. Always make good impressions.
- The last very important takeaway from Buddy’s story is that success can come to you early if you work for it. As I write this Buddy is only in his early 20s. If you’re in high school and thinking about a career in music, get started by reaching out into your community now. Make a free website for yourself, practice, and hold a concert for your neighborhood in your backyard. Just get going!
If you’re into video games and youtube you might have come across Taylor Davis. Growing up, Taylor played the violin in school and her mom made her practice before she was allowed to play video games. In her bio she says that was all the motivation she needed. If practicing meant video games later, she made sure she practiced! In 2010, Taylor took to youtube to put up a video of herself playing the theme from the movie “Schlinder’s List” with an accompanist on piano. Little did she know, this was the start of something that would change her life. Her 17th video was Cid’s Theme from Final Fantasy VII and it was the first one that showed a split screen, with her playing violin on the right and a pianist on the left. She really started gathering attention with her video game covers and over the last 8 years she has become a violinist with her own national tour and several albums on iTunes, some featuring original music. She even established her own music label, Highwind Records. It’s important to recognize that Taylor didn’t wait to be discovered, she knew she had something special to share and just went out there and did it. Since her youtube debut, her videos have gone from simple, at home videos to full on productions with costumes, like one of my favorites; Gerudo Valley Theme from Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
- Taylor Davis is a music entrepreneur because she, again, created her own job. She took to youtube, put up videos, pressed on no matter what and over time her vision became a reality. Take risks, think outside the box!
- Learn from Taylor and practice your instrument before you do something you find fun. This way you will get your practice done and you get to do what you like!
- Use the technology around you to boost yourself. If you like your music, chances are other people will too, so take to social media and start getting your stuff out there.
- Once again, put your talents and strengths together. Taylor loves music and video games, so she put them together to create something really special. You could do the same!
- Finally, quality is important. Taylor is successful because her violin playing is really good and her videos are visually exiting. Always try to do the best you can.
I hope music entrepreneurship makes more sense now. Keep on reading for suggestions and tips.
Entrepreneurial Suggestions for Each Age Group
Middle and High School
- Create your own concert at home and invite family and friends. Charge a low entrance fee, like $5, and save up to purchase a better trumpet, sheet music and trumpet accessories. You get a chance to practice playing in front of people and you make a little money!
- Find summer programs and GO.
- Find a youth orchestra or band in your city and audition. If you make it, then you get to experience what its like playing with a higher quality group of musicians. If you don’t make it, there is always next year and you get to practice auditioning, which is very important.
- Go to live trumpet and orchestra concerts as much as possible. Exposure to different kinds of music will help you pinpoint what you want to play.
- If you want to be a competitive player, compete! Find music competitions that accept trumpet players and go for it!
Undergraduate and Graduate College Students
- Now is the time for exposure. Plan recitals and concerts outside of your degree requirements, get experience playing in front of people and managing your own shows.
- See what you’re into and mix it up. If you like Italian food and trumpet playing setup up a house concert with food and music. Have your family or friends help you cook, invite your teachers and the dean of music, find other musicians to collaborate with you if possible and get going! Experimentation is everything!
- Talk to you advisor and private instructor about shaping your recitals to portray you true career visions. If your dream is to be a quintet player, see if you can make one of your recitals a quintet only recital. You can always feature trumpet-heavy pieces within the quintet genre. Fight for what you need out of your college experience.
- This should go without saying, but always be early, ready, bring a pencil, extra mutes, a smile and kindness. Stay humble and help others.
- If your school has music entrepreneurship classes, take them! If they don’t, find regular entrepreneurship classes and summer programs like Buddy’s The Entrepreneurial Student. https://www.buddydeshler.com/entrepreneurial-student
- Outside of musical exposure, find ways to stay involved in the entrepreneurial community through podcasts, books, Facebook groups. You never know who you will meet in this niche that can help you or needs your help.
- Find a private trumpet instructor in person or online and boost your trumpet game.
- Look for local ensembles to play in. Most of them have a low annual membership fee and provide ample performance opportunities.
- Go back to school for a music degree! Why not? If you have the time, WHY NOT.
- Being a little older means being a little wiser. Use the skills you’ve learned in your previous jobs to think outside the box. Form a small jazz combo, find a friend who plays piano and perform at retirement homes. Doing anything, is doing something!
- Find out who the best local players are and book a lesson with them. Sometimes, these lessons are really expensive so I recommend booking a couple to meet the player and learn from them. But hey, if you’ve got it like that and if you feel that you’re really learning from them, book steady weekly lessons.
- Finally, consistency is key. I have taught many many adults and the #1 obstacle is inconsistency in practice and habit making. Play daily, and play what your teacher gives you first, then play your favorite tunes.
20 Tips and Life Lessons on Music Entrepreneurship
1. Get yourself a website. In this day and age you are invisible without a website.
2. Use social media like youtube and instagram to share your talent. You have to start the trend on spreading the word about you.
3. Think outside the box and create events that combine your strengths and skills.
4. Just because someone else is already doing it doesn’t mean you can’t do it better.
5. Great ideas will stay great ideas until you get to work.
6. You don’t need to become a rockstar to have a successful and meaningful career in music.
7. There are many, many, many career choices in music. Don’t limit yourself.
8. Form an ensemble. Your age doesn’t matter. It could be a trumpet trio or a small jazz combo, just get started.
9. Play lots of different types of music and accept as many gigs as you can.
10. Read a book on entrepreneurship.
11. Listen to podcasts on entrepreneurship and music business.
12. Find yourself a mentor, someone who you look up to, and try to chat with them every once in a while. Picking others’ brains is how yours expands.
13. Hold concerts and recitals. They could be at your house, at the park or at a retirement home. Play in front of people as much as you can.
14. Don’t store your ideas in your head. Jot them down!
15. If you feel like your not creative enough to be an entrepreneur, surround yourself with people who are. Read books, listen to podcasts and find websites dedicated to it. You can learn to be creative.
16. Finding success isn’t about how much you know. It’s about what you do with what you know.
17. The best time to start working toward your dreams is now. Don’t wait until this or that, just get started!
18. Be bold. Think HUGE. Have crazy ideas. Remember that once upon a time the lightbulb was the craziest idea ever.
19. If you ever feel stuck, change your environment. Go think somewhere else. Go practice somewhere else.
20. Finally, always remember that true happiness is found when you pursue your own dreams, not others’. When you turn your passion into something that helps others, that’s when you realize the world is so much bigger than yourself and that a lot of people do in fact need your uniqueness.