The musician’s thirst for edification never seems to end at the performance stage. The list of successful performers with degrees, often unrelated to their art, is long and distinguished, and the mushrooming of online training opportunities affords performers more flexibility than ever to balance the complex interests and challenges facing those whose love making music. Play it right and you’re likely to look back on your beginnings from that place you’re hoping to be in your future.
If you’re already performing for money, as a solo act or as part of a band, having a good deal of elasticity with both your schooling and time means you don’t necessarily have to take on that waiter or waitress gig to make ends meet. Here are some tips on how to leverage your skills as a musician and a student to save money, achieve that degree and pursue your musical goals:
Make a Time Budget.
Different from a fiscal budget or schedule, a time budget lists your musical “expenses” with your financial obligations. Rehearsals, gigs and composing, like utility bills, rent and class fees, all have due dates and defined costs. Include these costs along with your fiscal obligations to incorporate these important factors into your thinking.
Put a $ on your time.
No one is saying that you play just for the money, but the money does dictate how much you play. What activities pay the bills, and of those, which are more profitable given the time expended? You may not yet be at a place where you can be fussy about which venues you play, but if you maximize your paid performance times, you’ll get to that point a whole lot faster than if you just catch as catch can.
Marry your schooling to your art.
If you’ve not paid any attention, you probably missed the fact that the constraints once posed by brick-and-mortar education have been largely overcome by the internet and university sensibilities that match their courses to the customer’s lifestyles. Finding a school with the option to access your classes from any point on your upcoming tour will blend a union between your love of music andlearning.
One thread that runs through each of the previous points is the concept of backwards planning. Knowing where you’d like to be, even if that vision is not fully formed, incorporates thoughts of where you’d not like to be in the future. Of those musicians who’ve achieved respect as both scholar and artist, each navigated a course that didn’t leave them looking back regretting how their short-term choices turned into dead ends for their dreams. Like them, you have the same number of seconds in each day, and how you use those increments of time will create either regret or satisfaction at some distant point in time. Keeping your dreams and your obligations tightly focused requires discipline, but combining your budget and your love ups the odds of having no regrets.