Hard Work and Commitment


The Working Musician Playbook


Lesson Info

Hard Work and Commitment

To round out day one I really want to talk about the importance of hard work and commitment and this is something that I have I see a lot of people that don't wanna work hard, but they want to achieve a lot of really crazy goals that take a lot of hard work to get there um and it's it's very important that when you decide what you want to do, that you commit fully, you dive in head first and that you I know that you're going t o be on a big ride that this is not about overnight success it's not about getting in pushing your chips in and winning the huge pot right off the bat it's not a gamble, it shouldn't be a gamble this is about committing to hard work and committing to a career that's why we call it that you know, it's, it's, it's something that takes time and one of the great things about the guests that we've had so far is they've talked about building relationships five, ten, fifteen, twenty year relationships so that as they do their business, they're not thinking about a year ...

long relationship there thinking about being in business for another twenty years that's pretty awesome that these guys were so committed to what they do, that they see it that far down the line and that they're willing to build relationships off of that aspect of what they do you know I personally want to be doing all the things that I'm doing now for a very long time and when I set my goals when I did that that exercise with the whiteboard and I set all my goals it wasn't to just say all right let's try this I'm going to set up a bunch of back up plans because I know that I'm not going to commit to it this was about all in I'm going all in on this and it's not something that it is gonna happen overnight it is something that is going to take a long time but because it's everything that I like doing and everything that I'm good at that's okay? Because I'm committing to a journey okay? And it's funny I should have had mike now we talk about this but he said something to me ah very, very long time ago that that wass compelling to me and it stuck with me to this day and I even tell my students this I tell my friends this it's all about the journey that's what he said to me you know when you look back you know you see so many pinnacle points in your career that at the time I said this before you don't realise how important those moments are but those little small victories and the little steps that we take really do help us progress and helped us succeed and get us to where we are now. So as part of your hard work and commitment, something that you need to think about and something that you should always remind yourself of is that it is all part of the journey that although today you may not be achieving that end goal that's okay? That's fine, but you are doing positive things to get to that goal and here's the thing it's like you have to think that way because let's say you had this giant goal that you're trying to reach, you get there, okay, you achieve that goal, but then you have to I realize that now that's history, you've achieved it cool. Now what, you probably would have to set a whole bunch new goals, and if you've put everything into that one goal and built it up to this whole big thing and then you have nothing else afterwards, you're going to like, oh my god, that's it came and went, it wasn't as big of a deal, and you're gonna look back and say, you know what this thing was? This thing was this thing was this thing wass and you're going to look at the journey and say, wow, what a journey it was, but the whole point is to always easy setting new goals for yourself and if you are committed to what you're doing and you are working hard, then that will happen naturally I have overall goals with my company with my career is a drummer, but the goals that I've set for myself are not goals that I'm just going to reach and then stop I'm going to reach that point and then continue to do what I've wanted to reach so one of my goals is I would love to one day speaking universities and colleges to try to inspire people that's that's a goal of mine okay if I get there and do it once, that doesn't mean I'm just going to stop because I've achieved my goal I want to keep doing it because it's something that I'm passionate about and it's something I'm committed to doing it I want to continue building on on that to maybe one day I'm speaking even mohr important audiences to help inspire more people, you know, so that's something that I think we really need t think about is it's about the journey it's about the steps that we take to get there and it's about living in the moment with what you're doing and taking us that back and going okay, what have I achieved and if you look at the list of things you've achieved and the battles so to speak that you've won it's amazing how many successes you've had along the way and it's exciting to know that you have all these other challenges in front of you, and all you have to do is just continue going on that path, and you're goingto conquer those challenges too. You know, a lot of people say to me, but I don't it's too hard, it's too much of a problem, it's too much of a challenge. Well, the only way you're going to get over that is to commit to it and grow bigger than your problem. Figure out how to grow, grow on over it, grow larger than your challenge. So that it's not a challenge anymore. And now you have an even bigger challenge to grow on top of that, those are things that we all have to do. It happens in life, you know, every day it's like, you know, one day you wake up on monday and it's an amazing day, everything goes right, and the next day you're hitting every red light when you're driving it's rainy out outside when we were in seattle it's raining like all the time, but now it's raining outside um, you get a phone call that's stressful. One day is not ever the same is the day after that and the day after that and it's all about the journey, so just take things a moment at a time, a day at a time and realize it really is about the journey, so that was sort of ah, you know, a sort of preface what will discuss now, but look, no, your goals, ok? And now that we as a group have talked about our goals and what we're trying to dio now we have to build relationships, learn to communicate better, but realize that you're gonna have to pay your dues, and we've talked about this, you know, you have teo really earn people's respect, and one of the best ways to do that is to show other people that you're working hard, but don't show other people that you're working hard to show people you're working hard. If you work hard at your craft and if you commit to it and devote your time to it, that will naturally happen, people will see how hard you're working, you know? My my my parents maybe didn't understand how hard I was working in my business until I was doing it for four years or five years, they really wow, okay, I'm gonna back off and not be like on him about maybe you should go do something else because it's not happening really quickly. It's like I know it's not, but that's the point, I'm small victories that you don't see that I see now they get it same thing with drumming if I had given up at times when it was hard when I got rejected or when my band's got told, no, you're not going to get signed to this label or hey, um, your symbols broke and you can't afford any more. If I had given up at those points, I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing now. And when I looked back and I figure out how I solve those problems, you know, that's those air, those small victories that we have to really keep in mind as we go so that's important, but look, you have to pay your dues. If you're a musician, you need toe balance what you're doing by making sure you're good at it. You know, we were just talking about this like, before you go into the studio to record don't just assume you're going to be bad ass. You you better work hard before you go into the studio practice. And make sure that you know what you're doing because here's the thing if you go into the studio and you take too much time in the studio and you didn't put in the hard work before it's going to cost you more money than our you're you're paying to be there so the hours that you're that you're racking up are worse something the more bad ass you are your instrument and at performing your songs and the more hard work you put in before the opportunity the more of an opportunity you're gonna have and same thing goes for audition same thing goes for going on a tour saying which is funny because my band will like practice a week before a tour and it's all half asked and you know we're a bunch of lazy dudes when it comes to that but once we get on towards like oh we probably should have practiced you know we really should have put more work but you know that's the reality of of when you have a bunch of busy people and you know life life gets in the way of things but the point is that's no excuse you have to work hard you have to commit so you know that that's that's something I really wantto get across so you know I want to ask the audience you know online I want to ask you guys, you know what what kinds of things where you committed teo so so what what what's a commitment of yours aside from drumming what do you committed to what do you want to do what's something that like you just will work and work that you'll pick up and move to do and I know we talked about your goals but like, physically like what have you committed teo like what have you what have you made of mental commitment to do? Um one main thing is I know you mentioned like ah something good for communication is like working as a waiter like a restaurant well for me it's sticking strictly to the muse sick industry um for the past eight years of my life I've been fortunate enough teo do everything music related so say, you know the gigs aren't picking up and I'm I'm not playing as much well, then I'll start teaching if the teaching goes downhill, then I'll start recording that's not working I'll do like stagehand work or stage managing. So for me, my goal is always to stay like stay true to what I want to advance in so because I know even though they're different aspects to drumming um so say like stage managing it's completely different from drumming but I can still meet people in network and I mean I can watch bands play and get information from drummers and it's great so to me, that's, my ultimate goal is always surround myself with with what I want to be doing now, you made a in talking about that, you know, you said, if this doesn't work, if this goes downhill, that and I say this not in a way to correct you in a bad way, but I want you to not think that way you can't commit to something fully and think that it might go downhill. Of course, we know that as realistic people, but your your mindset and your goal should be to do everything don't just focus on one thing at a time focused on being a performer focus on being a session, work, you know, session player, focus on being ah, a stage attacker, a stage manager focus on being everything, everything you talked about, try to do it all at once, because if you commit fully, if you dive in, you really have to do more than just one thing, the more things you're doing them, or you're putting it out there to the universe, so to speak much, much more, ah, much larger chance of actually succeeding in all of them, and then developing this career that no one day a week, you're stage managing next day, you're teaching the next day you're performing and sodas and there you go you're working but it's not just one thing don't pivot from one to the next to all of them once and this is stuff and I'm sure you meant that but this is stuff will talk about tomorrow too, because one of the focuses is how you know we said had to maintain how to make money while doing what you're doing and how to figure out how to support yourself just with music. So we're gonna talk about that specifically tomorrow but that's a great commitment I mean, that really is but you have to be able to dive in fully and not be scared and I'm not saying you were again this is just for in general for everybody, you can't be scared, you have to say, this is what I'm going to do and I'm going to make it happen one hundred percent anyone who does that will succeed they may not be like, you know, a gigantic rock star like bon jovi or something like like, you know, nick mentioned but you're going to succeed and if you're going out there every day and you're doing what you do to the best of your ability and people see that and they're like, do your your awesome, what you do, you're a great stage manager, you're a great drummer, you're a great session player, that is success that success and that needs to be enough for people it's not about making millions and millions of dollars it's not about being famous if those were your reasons to do something, then you better have other reasons as well behind that that benefit more people than just you because if not you're never going to succeed if your goal in life is to just make money and that's it go do something that allows you to do that like don't be a musician that would be a musician if that's your goal okay, because it's not about that you had to be willing to not make any money yet to be willing t live very, very, you know, a meager life frugally, whatever you want to say, you know and you need to be happy with that because you don't want to be a musician miserable if you're miserable and you shouldn't do it, you need to be able to be happy with those small victories with like I said, someone coming up to you after a show and say man, you are an awesome drummer or dude, I really you did a great job today helping with stage management I'm just talking about things that you mentioned but that's that's the point is don't just go into this half asked and expect to get gaines that are beyond your means you have to go into this not expecting to make those gigantic gains and be very happy with small victories that's a huge, huge, huge point here, you know? And look, at the end of the day, I mean, you got shoes on your feet, you got shoes on your feet, you know, you got a sweater on, we have places to sleep, we're so much more fortunate than a lot of people out there that I've even seen in this town, you know, just in this room, the fact that we are able to come here and do this on wednesday when, you know, other people have to grind and grind and grind and that's awesome. Those are things that we, a lot of us take for granted every day we really do and that's that's the thing those are these are important topics to bring up when it ties to commitment and hard work because every day is not going to be pg every day is not gonna be easy, it's, hard, it's really, really hard, but you have to believe in what you're doing and you, honestly, you know, you have to believe in yourself that that really is the key you don't believe in yourself and what you're doing and you're not happy with what you're doing then no one's gonna take you seriously, but it has to be passionate and like I said, it can't be about the wrong reasons if you're seriously if you want to make a lot of money don't work in this industry don't become a musician or work in music because you may at some point make a lot of money but it's going to take a long time to get there and a lot of relationship building and a lot of communication all the moor all the values we talked about today those things are going to take a lot of time to do you know? Did you have another point? Yeah, yeah just add to what you were saying I recently heard like someone say ah don't have a plan b because you're more like likely to take it you know exactly you haven't always saying like so yeah no don't I mean you need to commit and look because of because we are very fortunate most of us are very fortunate enough to have options those are things that are always in the back of your mind but if you do start thinking about it, maybe I'll just go do this instead and that's your spending your time thinking about that you're not thinking about going out and becoming the person you want to become you know and you can achieve it everybody can achieve what they want now look, is everybody going to make it too like that gigantic little no not everybody's gonna make it that's the harsh reality is you could work your butt off and still never reached that giant point. But that's what I'm saying as long as you can put food on the table as long as you can have great friendships have a good life support yourself for your family than that is succeeding because you're able to do those things by doing what you love, but it does take commitment and hard work to do just that, getting further that takes more and more hard work continual hard work, hitting the pavement every day and doing it and committing to twenty, thirty years. You know, that's what you have to do and look there's a really important point to make here some people achieve their goals faster than others, some people get ahead faster than others and it's very easy to look at those people when we're in a position that we're in, where we're not where we want to be necessarily and feel jealousy or envy. But you have to realize that that point that that feeling it is natural to feel that way in some ways, but it should not be the feeling you focus on. You need to think about it like this you need to think that that person probably has been working really hard for a long time to get there and be happy for them and realize that instead of feeling discouraged by it, I feel inspired by because it's possible this person didn't start with, like, you know, a golden spoon up there, but excuse my language, but they worked hard to get there. Everybody that I know who has succeeded to that sort of level still works hard every single day and had a plan and had a goal and didn't sleep and just busted their butts as much as they could to get further and further and further, and that should be inspiring. That should not be discouraging. You have to learn how to take those feelings and acknowledge them. But say, wait a minute, is that the right feeling? No, the right feeling I should feel is inspiration because, well, that's possible, I could do that if I keep working hard, that could be me. And like I said, maybe we'll take twenty, thirty years. Who knows me will take a year? Maybe it'll take six months, who knows anything can happen, but the more relationships that you foster and the more good deeds you do, the more of a chance you have of going and, you know, having that hard work pay off, okay, so that's, really important, so the key is as I said, look believe in yourself, commit to it I'm a drummer, I know that that's what I've committed to for my my whole life, I'm going to be a german the rest of my life, all the things that come around that are going to stem from that music's always going to be at the center of everything I do that's my commitment, I'm never going to do anything else. Maybe I will like for leisure like you are for a hobby, but as a career, I know what I'm doing and I've committed to, and I've accepted that it might take forever to get here. I want to go, you know what? At least I'm doing this that's awesome! I'm happy doing this happy teaching this class. I'm happy playing drums for you guys. I'm happy being in a band. That's what I want, teo and it's not easy. It is not an easy lifestyle when you're touring in a band. It's not glamorous, you don't sleep, you are around other people constantly. There is really no privacy. You don't always get to eat well, you don't always get to play the shows you want to play. You have to go on tours that you don't want to go on sometimes to really build, but you know what, that is, the journey there's always a silver lining and there's always something positive you confined in everything I talked about that positive post campaign don't do it in just a post, find the positive side to everything you're doing, find the positive side to someone else succeeding and look at that and try to say that is positive because it's inspirational. Okay, so that's the trick and just believe in what you're doing, that it's the right thing for you. And if one day you truly don't believe in it anymore, then that's fine figure out something else that you do believe in and do that to the fullest. But whatever it is that you are passionate about and you believe, don't do it half ass because you won't succeed that's for sure. If you do it all the way and go on the way, then then you have a much better chance of getting to the level that you want and having those small victories that equate to a much more successful career overall. And if you just had one big goal, that was it.

Class Description

It takes more than raw talent to make a living as a musician – and it doesn’t happen overnight. In this online course, Modern Drummer’s 2013 Best Metal Drummer of the Year and founder of BandHappy Matt Halpern will show you how to break out of the garage and build a lasting career in the music industry.

Drawing on his own successful experience with the award-winning band Periphery, Matt will walk you through the everything you need to know about breaking into the industry, improving your technical skills, and making the right moves to ensure long-term success. You’ll learn how to get your foot in the door, build a sustainable career as a working musician, and keep growing your career from there. From finding the right management, agent, and label to building relationships with sponsors and key industry players, you’ll learn it all from one of this generation’s most respected minds in the business.

Special industry guests include:

  • Ash Avildsen - Sumerian Records Founder/CEO
  • Mike Mowery - Outerloop MGMT Founder/CEO
  • Mark Scribner - Business Manager for Killswitch Engage, Periphery, Animals as Leaders
  • Mike Johnston - Drummer, Clinician and Founder of Mikeslessons.com
  • Chris Brewer - Head of Artist Relations for Meinl Cymbals USA
  • J.P. Bouvet - Drummer, Clinician and winner of Guitar Center Drum Off 2011

By the end of this class, you’ll have a comprehensive, actionable playbook for breaking into the music industry and putting in the right work.