How To Build And Maintain A Career In Music With A Mentor

By Tom Hess

One of the biggest challenges you will face early on as you start a career in music is simply ‘not knowing’ what to do. Fact is, many musicians do not know much about the music industry in the beginning. As a result, it takes them many years to make progress as they slowly accumulate experience using a hit-and-miss approach to learning about the music industry. Fortunately, this is not the only approach available for you to take in your music career.

If you would like to start a career in music and quickly reach success as a professional musician, it is crucial to find a mentor who has already achieved great things in the music business. By learning about the music industry from a professional who has already done big things, you will be much more likely to succeed in your own music career.

Take for example basketball superstar Michael Jordan. Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, Jordan achieved the highest levels of success by winning championships, breaking records and earning many millions of dollars through endorsement deals plus his own player salary. While it is certainly true that Jordan was an incredibly talented individual; it is not true that he accomplished all of his success entirely on his own. In fact, during his career, Jordan took the advice of MANY mentors, trainers and personal coaches. All of these people had previously achieved the results that he was looking to achieve for himself. Due to this, Jordan was able to leverage his great natural talent in order to propel himself to the very highest level of his sport. It is simply unimaginable to think that after achieving such high levels of success, that a great athlete would continue on without a trainer even after breaking records, winning medals or other types of awards.

Similar to Michael Jordan or any other highly successful athlete, if your goal is to succeed in your music career, you will be able to achieve much more by finding a mentor who can change you from a talented amateur musician to a successful music professional. In order to find a great mentor for your music career, it is important for you to know what qualities you should be looking for in such a person. Here are the top 3 qualities of a music career mentor who can help you become highly successful:

1. Knows how to keep you on the right track toward reaching your music career goals.

In order to maintain success throughout your music career, you will need to keep your biggest goals in mind with each action you take. For most musicians, it is easy for them to become distracted in their music careers and lose direction. This often leads them down a long and frustrating path as they seem to be ‘doing things’ in their music career, but in fact are not working toward what it is that they truly want to achieve. Additionally, the majority of musicians do not understand how to pursue their music career goals in a highly focused manner by using an effective strategy. These musicians generally see limited to no success and as a result are forced to work outside of the music business.

A solid mentor can help you determine the best strategy for achieving your music career goals and show you how to do so in a quick and effective manner. Additionally, even if you have all the ‘right’ information and strategies in place for your music career, you may still lose your way due to lack of inspiration, external distraction or issues with procrastination. Without the guidance of a great music mentor, these problems can easily cause your career to fade into obscurity. Your mentor should be highly perceptive when it comes to noticing your progress (or lack of progress) toward your greater music goals. This person will instantly notice subtle signs that you are going down the wrong path, and will quickly step in to help you find your way again.

2. Has previously helped other musicians become highly successful in the music industry (and can show you the proof!)

The music industry is unique from many other industries because becoming successful with a career in music does not require attending university programs, receiving a degree or taking any kind of special tests. That said, it is much easier for amateur musicians to ‘talk big’ when it comes to their music careers. Sometimes you will come across people in the music industry who claim to be highly successful, when in fact they are not. As you begin looking for a music career mentor, it is very crucial that you avoid the advice of these types of musicians and find someone who can really back up their claims of success in the music business.

In order to find a mentor who truly knows how to help you succeed in your music career, look first at the success of the musicians he is training/has trained in the past. If this person is truly a great mentor, he will not need to tell you so. Instead, it will be obvious due to the overwhelming amount of positive feedback given by the current and former musicians who have worked with him. Once a great mentor has helped many musicians achieve their musical goals, they naturally will feel a need to voice their approval. This can be observed commonly in the form of testimonials on your mentor’s website or in other areas online.

As a music career mentor myself, I have personally trained a lot of musicians worldwide to reach their musical goals. In addition, I too have my own mentors who have helped me achieve the level of success I am at today. That said, I can tell your first hand that finding a great mentor has a HUGE impact on your music career success. Regardless of your current experience in the music industry, I encourage you to seek out your own music career mentor as soon as possible so you can quickly begin reaching your full potential for success in your music career.

3. Has already reached a very high level of success and is be able to help you solve any of the specific problems that are holding you back in your music career.

Many times when musicians first begin a career in music, they become overwhelmed. The reality is, you can gain more access to information about the music industry now than ever before due to the speed of the internet. The downside of this is that most of the sources you will find online about how to build a career in music offer very broad information that is intended for a general audience of musicians. If you use basic information on the internet as your only source of understanding how the music business works, you will likely end up very confused because you have not yet learned how to tell valuable information apart from general information (that is useless in your own ‘specific’ music career). The key to solving this problem is to seek the advice of a music career mentor who has a lot of experience building success in a similar area of the music business as the one you want to get into (for instance, becoming a recording artist, touring the world in a band, doing session work as a musician, etc.).

Once you have found a mentor who possesses this trait, you will be able to get specific advice that will help you in YOUR music career (not simply ‘generalized’ advice for the masses). This person will be able to tell you exactly what needs to be done in order to achieve your musical goals, and how to do it. This will eliminate any confusion on your part, and help you to follow a clear path toward building your career in music.

Do you still have doubts about getting a music career mentor? Test your current knowledge of the music business with this music career assessment and see if being trained by a mentor is the best choice for you.

Author's Bio: 

About The Author:

Tom Hess is a recording artist, online guitar teacher and a music career mentor. He plays guitar for the band Rhapsody Of Fire. Visit his musician development website to become a better musician, get free music industry advice, music career tips and professional music industry advice.