Below is an excerpt from the first chapter of my new eBook, Make It.
“a rising tide lifts all boats” —John F. Kennedy
When I was toying around with the idea of writing a book to help other musicians get their performance careers started after college, many people tried to talk me out of it. They said I would be giving away hard earned secrets and creating more competition for myself in an already cutthroat profession. Perhaps they were worried that I would create more competition for them too.
I wholeheartedly disagree with this kind of thinking. Helping others helps us all.
By empowering musicians with the information they need to make a living, they can help their communities as a whole to grow much faster. They will be better equipped to engage the public. Every musician I help is an advocate for great art, not another mouth to feed. I’m not worried about people taking my gigs, I’m worried that there are not enough people taking risks, making new opportunities, and showing the public that there is a lot more amazing music beyond Top 40 radio—and that it is worth investing in. I’m worried that there aren’t enough musicians doing well enough to change things. Just scraping by is not good enough. I’m worried that the musicians doing well view their successes as scarce events, which spooks them from helping others.
I want to help you find some stability as quickly as possible so you can focus on bigger challenges beyond keeping a roof over your head and feeding yourself. I also want to tempt successful musicians into doing more books like this. It’s good for you, me, other musicians, listeners, and the music itself. I sincerely hope this book helps you go further than I could and you can teach me something one day. If you’re an already successful musician reading this or think I have no authority to write something like this, steal my idea and write your own version of it because the world sure as hell needs it. Too many excellent creators lose time or leave the arts because simply getting started is a major challenge.
This is everything I’ve learned since graduating college when it comes to making a living from my musical abilities. I cannot teach you everything, but I can get you started. Take this, apply it, build on it, and don’t forget to pay it forward when you make it.
Emilio J. Guarino, 2016
How To Use This Book
I modeled Make It after a lot of my favorite business books. It’s a quick read that makes sense if you read it from beginning to end or jump around, and included as much actionable advice as I can give. I want you to spend less time reading and more time solving problems for yourself. Participation is required. Treat this as you would a piece of music. You want to get the information off of the page (or screen) and bring it to life as soon as you can.
You’re going to make this book your own. Start by getting a pen and a notebook. Take notes and brainstorm as you read. Don’t be afraid to put the book down and spend some time on this part—problem solve more than you read. When you arrive at the sections labeled “Actionable Steps”, you have some activities to do. They are there to help you to adapt the information here to your own situation, personal goals, and talents.
After you have gone through everything, made your notes, and done the activities you are going to implement what you have learned. Use routine to your advantage. Set small, daily goals that are realistically achievable for you1 that inch you toward your desired outcome. Lean towards making them too small rather than too large at first. It is always easier to scale up later than to take on too much at once and burn out after a week. If you are a very driven, Type A person like me, this is extra important. Our ambition tells us that if we aren’t working really, really hard at everything, we aren’t doing it right. I suggest the opposite: focus on making daily tasks simple and easy, not more difficult and complex because the crucial part is getting them done. If you decide you need to network more, make your daily goal to talk to one new person everyday and see how far that gets you, then add more if you need it. Keeping the goal small makes sure that you have absolutely no excuses for not following through and anything after that feels like a bonus.
1 I won’t cover the topic of habit formation in depth because it is covered very well elsewhere. If you have trouble modifying your habits, do a search for James Clear. His blog is a tremendous resource on the topic.
If this sparks your interest, head on over to the Make It page and get yourself a full copy.