5 Fundamental Elements Needed To Succeed In Music

By Tom Hess

No matter what you do, you will NOT make it in the music industry until you attain the 5 key elements possessed by all successful musicians. Building a successful long term music career is a lot of hard work... and it will be even harder if you don’t already possess these elements (regardless of what you want to achieve in this industry).

Here are the 5 fundamental keys you must have for putting together a highly successful career in music:

Music Career Success Key #1 – Don’t Set Realistic Goals

All of the most well-known and successful musicians did not achieve their goals by thinking realistically about what seemed possible. On the contrary, they focused their mind like a laser ONLY on what they truly wanted. When you make your goals in line with the things you want most, you will be much more motivated to actually achieve them. More on this in a moment...

Consider this – of the two options below, which one would force you to stop everything you’re doing and start growing your music career?:

a) Making a recording of a demo with a band and possibly playing a few shows around town.


b) Writing chart topping songs for a killer band, then promoting your music by going on a massive world tour - playing to stadiums full of fans, earning tons of money from music sales alone and never working a regular job ever again.

Even if you aren’t interested in getting into the music industry to release music, you can still understand my point... Don’t ever accept anything less than what you WANT from a career in music (even if what you want seems like a really big accomplishment). Don’t waste your life pursuing things that you don’t really want. If you set goals for your music career that don’t really inspire you, you won’t be motivated to achieve them and you certainly won’t ever achieve your true musical goals.

All of the great musicians you have ever known, are just normal people like you. They started from humble beginnings – whether it was without a band, having low musical skills or not understanding how the music industry works (as well as countless other situations). Imagine what kind of outcome would have happened for them had they decided that it wasn’t ‘realistic’ to sell records worldwide, tour internationally and build a huge fan base. Well, they didn’t... they chose to pursue BIG goals and this is very fortunate for them (and the music industry as a whole).

Be like them. Start building your music career based only on the goals that motivate you the most!

Music Career Success Key #2 – Manifest Your Musical Dreams Into Reality Before They Actually Are Reality

Musicians who never achieve anything significant in this industry, build paths to their goals by starting from where they are in the present moment.

On the other hand, musicians who achieve great success do something completely different. They plan their music career by beginning from the end point of achieving their goals, and work backwards to the present day. They imagine themselves having already accomplished their major goals, then build their lives around this vision. This is a much more effective way of accurately determining the actions required for putting together your music career. Discover more on this topic by reading this article about how to reach musical goals.

Become certain about the exact steps you need to achieve your goals in the music industry by working with a music business mentor.

Music Career Success Key #3 – Start Living Or Start Dying

The two keys I mentioned above are critical for building a successful music career. With this in mind, you need more than just goals and a plan of action to realize your musical dreams. You have to take action each and every day to bring yourself closer to your goals. You might think this is common knowledge, but you would be shocked at how many musicians give up on their musical dreams simply due to lack of effort (in terms of taking physical action).

Consider this scenario (I discuss this topic to inspire the pro musicians whom I mentor): You’ve just found out about a disease you contracted that requires major surgery. If you don’t get this surgery, you are guaranteed to die in no more than half a year. To make matters worse, the surgery is extremely expensive and cannot be covered by your insurance company (also you can’t borrow money to pay for it). So you have a decision to make: You can allow yourself to die, OR you can take whatever action is necessary to get the money needed for the surgery.

Certainly this example is extreme, but it is a perfect illustration of the kind of mindset you need to have in order to build a successful music career. Making big moves (by taking action) in your music career is completely different than sitting around waiting for things to happen for you (allowing yourself to ‘die’).

With this in mind, hard work/consistent action does not necessarily equal music career success, when you don’t know exactly what you should be doing to reach your goals. This is why you must have a music business coach, so that your actions move you toward your musical goals.

Music Career Success Key #4 – Make Sure Your Musical Goals Can Pass The ‘Why’ Test

No matter what you do, something will always go wrong in your music career plans. Whenever you are faced with unexpected events in your music career, this is the time when your commitment will be put to the test. For instance, here are some challenging situations you could face:

  • Working with unmotivated band members who are bringing you (and the entire band) down.
  • Trying to record an album, but doing so at an extremely slow and frustrating pace because you never practiced developing your recording skills.
  • Waking up at 8AM everyday to go to a crappy job when you really want to work in the music business.
  • Playing at crappy bars all the time with your band because you don’t know how to move to bigger venues.
  • Not knowing how to attract a lot more music fans.

Here is what you need to do in order to maintain your commitment and dedication to achieving your music career goals:

Look at your written list of musical goals (that you should put together after having read about key #1 above). Beside each of your goals, write down the core REASONS you have for wanting to achieve them. You must know the answer to the following question for every goal you have: “WHY do I want to achieve this goal?” Don’t rush through this - Invest a lot of time and effort into thinking about your answers for each goal, then read over your goals and reasons twice each day... once when you wake up... once before you go to sleep.

When you do this, you’ll develop the ability to maintain motivation and stay focused on the major reasons you have for reaching your goals. This will help you move forward in the difficult times when your dedication is put to the test.

Get a lot more information on this by studying this article about achieving huge music career goals.

Music Career Success Key #5 – Don’t Try To Build Your Music Career Blindfolded

Once you are in possession of all 4 keys mentioned above, it’s still possible that your music career will go nowhere. This occurs when you lack certainty about what to do to achieve success, are (unknowingly) sabotaging yourself or lack effective strategies to help you reach your musical goals. The last key required for building your successful career in the music industry is to train with a mentor who has experience helping musicians take their careers to the highest level.

A truly effective mentor will not simply tell you what you need to be doing in order to succeed in the music business. He will help you utilize all of the strengths you built while developing the first four keys and will keep you heading down the right path toward success, while preventing you from making the same mistakes that unsuccessful musicians make. Without this kind of training, you are essentially trying to build your music career with a blindfold on – completely oblivious to the best ways to succeed using your current skills and knowledge.

Now that you are familiar with all five keys needed for music career success, take the following actions:

1. Focus on getting all the missing keys you do not currently possess.

2. Train with an experienced music industry mentor and reach your musical goals fast.

Author's Bio: 

Tom Hess is a recording artist, online guitar teacher and a music career mentor. Visit his musician development website to become a better musician, get free music industry advice, music career tips and professional music industry advice.