Making a Living to Support Your Goals

 

The Working Musician Playbook

 

Lesson Info

Making a Living to Support Your Goals

It was such a great vibe like after the class was finished, I went online and I was looking at, you know, all all my social media accounts and like, just all the positive feedback, it was so cool that people actually I think, took some good stuff away from it and the stuff that I wanted them to take away from it. You know, as I said yesterday, there really is no one list of steps that will just get you from point a to point z itjust there is no set list that everybody follows, you really have to just have thank you really just have tohave ah set of almost life values that you can confide follow and stick to that can really help you along the way, as long as you stay true to your talents and you stay true to yourself and you commit. And those were the topics that we talked about yesterday, so I really just want to do a brief recap of yesterday and then we can get into what we'll be doing today. But you know, if you're just tuning in today, yesterday we had a really fun day where we talk...

ed about the importance of communication and how that works within the music industry, but also in daily life and how being a good communicator is really everything and communication leads to positive relationships you know, if you can communicate well, then you can have a good relationship and you can maintain and foster more relationships within the industry with your peers and having a support system which is something we'll talk about today is something that comes from good communication and having a good relationship. We also talked about the importance of hard work and commitment and you know chris like you picked up you moved you said it perfectly. You know, a lot of times you need a really big change, like moving from this from a different city to it to a new city to really immerse yourself in that commitment, you know, and and tie same thing for you. I know you moved up from los angeles to here that's a big step. You guys should be really proud of yourselves. You know, it's it's not necessary for everybody to just pick up and move to a new city. Because as we talked about yesterday with the internet and the access that we have to what's out there and the exposure that we can get, you can make things happen in your hometown. But a lot of times change is important and the fact that you guys felt that that was necessary and actually made that step is awesome so really give yourself a good pat on the back and the fact that you're already like off to the races teaching playing that's fantastic it shows the commitment it shows your willingness to work hard it really shows that you're obviously communicating with people to get those things going on so all good stuff very very good stuff so today we're really going to get into some I think more practical applications of what we talked about yesterday and the focus should be really on you know yesterday was all about setting your goals and figure out what you wanted to do and knowing what you needed to do to get to those goals today it's about taking your goals and figuring out okay I want to achieve this goal but I have to make a living have to maintain balance have to maintain a support system I also want to expand my industry relationships and I need a budget all of this whether it's money or time you've got to figure out how to make all that work so today it's really about practical application um the first segment we're going toe really get into kind of like a list of steps of things that you could do as a musician or someone in the industry to stay working in music and still be working towards your goals okay and I have a great guests that I'll introduce in a couple minutes here who's going to really drive that home for you guys the second segment is going to be about building those relationships that we talked about yesterday, but doing it from a support system standpoint, finding the right people that you can have as friends but also that you can work with so where you know you can refer jobs to each other you could help each other with with different aspects and we have a great guest who is like a a living, breathing example of that, I can't think of anyone better who will talk about that I'll introduce him little bit later as well he'll also be talking about the balance of work and life because that is a huge thing and it's interesting there's actually another class going on today here a creative live about basically business and life and business and family how to balance that so it's obviously a very important topic for any professional specifically in the music industry with the amount that working musicians travel with the amount that were away from home throughout the year, you need to have a balance between that lifestyle and your family and your friends and the support system goes along with that we'll also really get into industry relationships and more specifically, sponsorships, you know, having gear to maintain khun b a huge expense for us, you know it's it's very hard t maintain your for us drums, cymbals, drum heads, drumsticks I mean we hit stuff it breaks it's a struggle and a lot of drummers I know specifically go through that, but guitar players, too, you know, with strings, with guitars, with travel, I mean, things get damaged, so as you elevate yourself to a higher platform, and as you start doing more, there are things you can do that allow you to kind of know your role and also know when it's time to go and say, you know what? I can provide some some good things for some of the companies that I would like to endorse on dh, therefore, it's a good way, and a good time to reach out to them, to say, hey, maybe we could figure out a good business relationship toe where you can help me out with gear, and I can really help you out with exposing you to my platform and a big part of it. We'll talk about there is knowing your role, knowing your position there, knowing when it's appropriate to do that, knowing how to do that the right way. Andi, we'll have a really great guest to come talk about that. He'll also really get into the right way to interact it with the industry, you know, a lot of musicians are very focused on the creative aspect, the art of it, and they're not necessarily the most business savvy but that doesn't mean they can't become and learned to be more business savvy and when you're dealing with industry professionals like the ones that we encounter in the music business they're usually pretty business savvy so it's like going from knowing nothing to dealing with someone who's like you know as good it at business as you are at the art so I want to try to get some insight from people in the industry like we did yesterday to help with sort of explaining the best way to learn how to communicate and approach those situations better and then the last segment eyes really going to be focused on whether you're out on tour or whether you move to a new city and you start you know, having some some money coming in to support yourself with you start having opportunities how didyou budget how do you actually figure out what goes where how do you decide what goes to gear what goes to food what goes to rent you know that's that can be tough and especially in our world of music where it's very hard to make a living and we still need to feel like we're safe we're okay we want our parents to not worry about us and be like, okay, they're going toe no they'll be fine so we'll give some practical steps on howto actually handle those situations as well which is great for life in general we all need to get better that I wish they would have taught me that gnome entry school that we all should learn that, but so that's that's what we'll cover today so, um, as I mentioned, you know it's all about the practical ways to really get help and to really help yourself move from one point for the next and for our first segment a I'm extremely excited tohave this guy mike johnston here from mike's lessons dot com mike is a fantastic drummer and probably one of the may be the best educator that I know he devotes his life to educating drummers and not just on howto hit things and do different patterns, but how to actually develop a career howto actually work with others and it's it's amazing to watch him teach he's one of the most inspirational people I've ever seen, and you could ask anybody that knows him and they'll tell you the same thing, and I think you guys will see that as well, and if you're watching online, you know you'll be able to check him out today for free. But if you're a drummer and you want to learn, definitely check out his website it's simple it's just like lessons dot com if you wanna learn how to play the drums if you want to watch some live broadcast from mike does classes on how to get better the drums, weekly and daily pretty much that's your place, but I can't think of a better teacher for that. So I'm gonna bring mike up today to talk about the practical application of howto work towards your goals, but still find a job or work within the music world in a way that allows you to keep your umbrella, so to speak, you know, everything you're doing under the umbrella of music, and also find jobs that can help you with some of the things that we talked about if you don't have endorsements yet, there's certain things you could do to help with some of those expenses, and he'll talk about that for sure, but that being said, I want to bring up mike and he's right here. How you doing? Are you seriously gonna shake my hand? Yeah. This's, my talents and everybody, yes, so we will sit down in a second, but quickly. I want to tell everybody what we do together all the time, which is, uh I mean, like, we go on a it's turning into, like, a branded clinic tour. Yeah, thing. It's it's, you, me and a drummer named j p movie who actually joining us later today for one of the segments, and it started off just kind of like, hey, we like each other, we should play drums together and let's bring j p and here, too, it would be a lot all play and it's turned into so much more and a lot of what I do as an educator, at least in the past year or two, since I've been working with them, a lot of my techniques and the things that I talked about and even just my inspiration comes from being around like it comes from being around j p there super inspirational dude and vice versa. I mean, that that was kind of the surprise of the tour was that the three of us, I don't think any of us were prepared to feed off each other as much as we did. I think in the beginning there was a nervousness about, like, is going to be competitive, you know, musicians can sometimes turn art into sport, and we didn't want that, and the only reason we agreed to go out on tour in the first place is because we felt that when we met in germany that we had finally found three, I'm not a hippie, but three souls that would like kind of actually try to create together and see if we could elevate and all of a sudden, as soon as the first clinic was over, we're in the hotel rooms like okay, what that thing you did? I gotta learn that a gallon and we're elevating and elevating, elevating and then assumes that tour was over. We all went to our hometowns and started practicing so that by the time we had the next tour together, which was like five or six months later, it was like, dude, I hope I've improved since last time we hung out the problem was they improved to so there was you never like there's never a step up it's just like, well, now we're all just better, which is that's the goal that's an amazing thing to have in school and I think one of the things that that is so powerful about what we've learned from doing those those clinics is what the audience is given back to us only because it ends up being there's always a point in this clinic because they're super inspirational guys where like the audience is looking at us and we're looking at them were just like, I love you guys, man, you know? Oh, wait, we should be endorsed by kleenex tissues on these tours, man yeah it's just it's not about drums and a lot of the stuff that we talked about is kind of stemming from what we talked about yesterday and what we'd be talking about today drumming again as I mentioned for me for mike is at the center of what we do but there's so much more that we want to communicate and that we want teo hopefully instill in our fans our audience are students so that they can take what what they learn from us and run with it we don't want to just give them a checklist of here's how you do it and it's gonna work because that's not the case and it won't work it won't work you have to do what's right for you and that is always I think really close to the center which is of course drums but its stems from that in the message so that's that's why I wanted you here today because I really think it's important for people that don't know about you teo hear about your experience a za musician as an educator and to hear about some of the things that you've really developed that can help these thes musician's air these industry professionals to be t really get on their way so I'm gonna let sit down real quick um and let's let's kind of get into it so before we before we get into your spiel so this is where you say you know you know my lingo I wasted a lot of hotel room time together get your minds out of the gutter uh before we before we get in into your presentation um, it be great to just kind of give people a little background? I kind of gave you the plug, you know, but yeah, tell people about yourself. I definitely think that that's something that all of you guys should be soaking in from any professional musician you could be around is their story because it will always be unique. And then what's great about a unique story is you'll find similarities. You said that you were meeting a bunch of musician books, right? Like howto being business? Well, each book is unique, but then every once when when you're like men it's the fourth time I've heard that exact same thing. Maybe that one's worth listening to it's just like when your mom tells you to do something over and over again, you're like woman, please. And then when your best friend says the same things like dog, seriously, you should clean up your room you like? All right, maybe it's riel. And so when you listen to musicians stories that's, what you want to be kind of taking away is okay where one of the unique aspects and then one of those points that keeps showing up, you know, I can tell you one point they would show up in my story matt story and j p story, dedication, devotion, obsession all those things I've just I've never met anybody that became the biggest in the world at what they do and they're like, yeah, dude, I due in about three minutes a day, not really into it just crush it like that never happens it's always like, wait, so michael jordan left the court last like he was the best whywould he practice more than anybody else and say because he was the best why did you get there before everybody else to set an example? Because he was the best, you know? And when it comes down to being the best on the greatest hits, something usually the hard work is going to be the biggest thing, so I'll give you guys my story and hopefully through my story, you'll hear little points were like, man that's like the fifth time I've heard that you really need to take something away from that, um, started drum lessons when I was like five years old, I was uh luckily, we still have school music going on, so by third grade I was able to be in band I was the worst drummer in the band I was you know, if you guys don't know about the drum world there's snare, drum, that's the cool thing is you get to have sticks, then there's based room you get a mallet then there suspended symbol and you get to little mallet so you're like I don't even know what these do and you have to wait for four hundred fifty four bars of music to go thirty eight two three for thirty nine two three more than four hundred sixty eight to three force so that's where I was and then the next year you know, same thing the next year I got two bass drum and I and then you put your money on this thing for an hour and you go do do do and that was like my drum life and then just it was the goal of, like eventually taking drum sticks to school with purpose so I was I did all that and then I got into junior high was still like third chair and I noticed I was practising more than everyone else around me and it wasn't coming at all I was not natural I would show somebody something that I was excited that was working was like, yeah it's this thing called the double parad it'll and then like one of the other drummers would look at it it's like, oh, I was like no, because I'm trying to, like, figure it out like one note at a time and I'm like, oh my god, maybe I'm just not meant for this that maybe I'm just not meant for this still hasn't left when I sit down with matt, I feel like maybe I'm just not meant for this, but then I talked myself out of it signal you're not supposed to compare yourself to matt or t j p or dave weikel supposed compare yourself to you, and, um, I better today than I was yesterday. If so, it's a good day, you know, that's something we talked about yesterday and you made a point to kind of reinforce that too is it's like, we see people that are either better than us or something, or that have achieved our goal before us and it's very easy to feel defeated or an envious, and you have always explaining you have tto learn howto spin that around and looking at his inspiration absolutely look at it as a way to to say it's possible told me that, and I mean you've heard, I'm not going to go on my timeline speech, but you've heard my timeline speech where it's just there is no better or worse than you that's not possible there is on ly further you knew later in the timeline and earlier that's it. So when you see somebody else, they can't be worse than you, they can only be earlier than you when you see something that's not as accomplished at the instrument you say oh yeah that's where I was when I was eleven years old your earlier in this journey than I am and when I see you know say matt play medal okay, well I don't play a lot of metal so he's clearly further along the timeline me so he's not better than me he's just where I would be if I put in another twenty years of metal drumming and I have to turn it into inspiration I have tto watch him and go I could totally do that like if I really worked hard but what I can't do is steal the work from him and say you're so lucky that's taking away everything he's worked harris off for and just saying, oh you're lucky he's not lucky he didn't go out with his buddies that night and he stayed home and just practiced his double bass on whatever so I have to look at and go okay yeah I put in the same amount of work I think I could do what he did so I started doing that as a kid I was putting in the work and I was realizing that ok if it takes drummer and our tow learnt something it's going to take me four hours but that's just the situation that's just where I am so either I can quit or you can just get used to it so I got used to it luckily due to braces and acne, it wasn't hard to not hang out with girls who were known to hang out with. So I practiced all day long all the time. Um, and then in ah, senior of high school, I got a job in a music store, started working there. That was my first job. And in my town, sacramento, california. If you worked in the drum shop, that was such a prestigious thing. The drum shop guy knew everybody, and he knew everyhing now and you could bring him in. Nineteen sixty two. Slingerlands snare drum you could say, oh, yeah, let me get the lug for that. We have it in the back. So it's, a very prestigious thing that I wanted to be a part of. And then what happened from there was we had a teacher and he had about sixty five, seventy students, and he got fired for pulling a gun on a girl. Yeah, no, it, actually and you can laugh. It was hilarious and yeah, he was old, and he just would sit in the parking lot in the mornings before we open reading, you know, revelations and just talking himself into a chaos, and anyways, this little girl hadn't practiced. And so he pulled out his piece and put it on the floor tom he's like what do I have to do to make you practice on dh? She just went screen I was working at the front counter and she went screaming out of the you know, room and I was like and I want to say his name so calling bell but is it bill it's up and then he comes out he's like just cussing and these and isn't our account of the gun and I was like, oh my god, did you pull a gun on that girl and he's like I put it on the floor tom and shouldn't have even scared or I don't know I was like, okay, clearly you're getting fired today, bro, so yeah, so he got fired and then the owner just said, I don't know what to do when he just had this high pitched voice and he was like, mike, you're very fast you're our new teacher and in that day I was seventeen and a half years old I went from a clerk at a drum store toe having sixty five private students, so you know and that was a huge pay upgrade too, because I was going from minimum wage to now I think at that time I was making thirty five dollars an hour now to be the teacher so it was it was insane, and he was like, on my had, like, big giant hoop earrings, shaved head dickie's, wife beater, like, I mean, it was it was the nineties and I was going for it, and so it's, like, you have horrible, like here's five dollars, go get some slacks, you know? And I had to get an outfit, and then so I started teaching privately, I lost a lot of students within the first week because since, uh, bill was an older cat had a lot of older student is, and a lot of these older guys didn't want to take lessons from a seventeen year old kid that looked like he worshipped lyne biscuit or whatever. So it's not all about the nookie guys you need to understand, and so so yes, so instantly I had this new life as a teacher, I had always wanted to be a teacher, I'd always felt I used to come home from school telling my mom, these guys aren't doing it right like the reason I get d's is because my teachers don't care about teaching at all I can, I can tell you right now, I could do this better than them, and my mom was just like, whatever, you know, because it's like did you just a twelve year old gets these, you know and it's like no, I'm telling you there's something wrong with the way these people teach they don't care about what they're teaching I really think that guy's a gym teacher and he got stuck teaching math that's not the man that should be teaching math person teaching master be obsessed with math and obsessed with the passion of math and this guy's not and I'm not enjoying so when I had a chance to be a teacher it was just it was like heaven you know, I just sit down with the kid and to know that okay, right now you can't do this and I have twenty eight minutes to get you to be able to do it, but I will be in this room when you can do it and I'll see I'll see you struggle, struggle, struggle and then it happens and then it's like then the tears start flowing and I'm high fiving the kid breaking his wrists and I'm like, all right, you know? And so I had that chance to do that well as that's going on, I'm cultivating my students and I'm building back up the students I lost from being a kid and I accidentally got a record deal my my band that was our local high school band, you know, we're called simon says we're playing and we're in the same town as you know deftones papa roach cake of course tesla, I know you guys were huge tastic fans on dh not the car, the band and so anyway, so so yes so, you know, all of a sudden we're playing these shows and then there's a thousand people in two thousand people and then that attracts the attention of the record industry and we get a record deal and I had to make this decision like okay major label record deal is a three album deal with hollywood records, which you guys don't know is owned by disney, so we turned down atlantic geffen, interscope warner everything to be with hollywood because it was that big of a of a label of the time and so, you know, I talked to my parents, my dad said, you know, this is this is your chance, you know, this is a golden opportunity take it, you could teach for the rest of your life, and in my mind, I kind of was thinking like, yeah, this is this is it this is what we're supposed to do we're supposed to get record deals were supposed to tour, so I did it, I left my teaching job and twenty one I started touring like on a major label, and we just kind of luckily got to see the life but weren't the life and what I mean by that is we were kind of the perpetual opening band for everybody, so we're always on tour with staying limp biscuit, corn rage, foo fighters blink whoever but we're always opening, so I wasn't having the life, but I was able to see it, you know what I mean? So playing twenty thousand cedars every night, but also knowing there's only ten that have r t shirt and then there's twenty thousand people chanting, rage, rage and I'm like that's for us. S o I got to experience it, I got to see it and got to deal with merchandise deals, you know, and publishing deals understand the difference between a publishing deal on a record deal and see the entire inside the industry. And what was funny to me was that during these tours we started doing like the european festival tours that you've done and those can be anywhere from, like, twenty thousand to one hundred thousand people, I was feeling personally, nothing like I would be on stage one hundred thousand people bouncing and nothing I mean, I just could not wait to get off that stage and get the drummers that were on that tour with me back on my bus and explain to them things like, dude, if you displace every fifth sixteenth note, then you're going to get this poly rhythm that starts having like that's all I was thinking while playing this, but I was watching my band mates because as the drummer, we're in the back and we get to see everything and I was watching them, you know, live their dreams like that I was they were so happy and I wasn't at all and so at twenty six, after six years of touring, I just realized that we sawed one more deal for one more record to go, which comes with a huge financial bump at the time of the record industry, and I decided it was time to quit before that happened. I don't want to take the money and run, so I quit the band and moved to a new town to teach private drum lessons, and that was that was the beginning of kind of everything was like making the decision that I'm going to choose happiness over whatthe world's dream is the world's dream was for me to be a rock star and to be touring, but there was no happiness in that for me and that's, okay? And it took me six years to realize, you know, it's okay, like I think I would be I think I'd rather be happy than always be looking at my itinerary being like when it's, sacramento when do we get home? You know, and I'm like, okay, twenty six more days that's all this twenty six more days of hell just so I can get home and teach ten private lessons and then go back on the road and then it was like, I don't know, just teach. So I, uh and that's kind of what I'm gonna talk to you guys about is I left that world and because my band was not famous at all when I moved to san lu serviceable a brand new town that I'd never been to, and there were reasons to move their you know it, I had no name, I didn't get to come in and be like, hi, I'm abe cunningham from the deftones you all clearly know me. Sign up and take my lessons. I was like, hi, I'm mike johnston, I'm inside, you've never heard of us starting from scratch, and it was, you know, so that's what? We'll talk about us. What to do when you move to a brand new town, start from scratch, no name, no one's there to help you and you need to not die soon. I had enough money to last me about three to four months before. Before, as a twenty six year old guy that just had a record deal, I'd have to kind of call mom and dad would be like I need to live at home, so and that wasn't an option for me, so so yes eventually had to make make it actually happened, you know, when you've done it now no, no, no, yeah, it's and it's, it's possible and it's tangible and that's, what we're really going to focus on is the way to actually do it. You know, something important that you told me when we were actually talking about drum clinics was that you have to really show the people that you're trying to educate the light at the end of the tunnel always, you know, because you have to show where you can get teo, but also be realistic in that it's going to take time and it's going take hard work and you know, something that was talked about yesterday, wass not everybody is going to make it and, you know, I think that's true, but I think at some point if you don't make it it's because you choose not to because if you don't take no for an answer and you continue to work hard and you are obsessed with it and you devote everything to it and you do everything you possibly can too be a good person within that journey than you can make it and you will make it somewhere even if it's not where you initially intended to go you will make it somewhere that you decide while this is actually awesome and I along my journey which I talked about this is this is where I actually want to be so you know for you at some point your pie like this is awesome I'm gonna go play in front of a hundred thousand people that's going to be read and on that journey you were like you know what though I kind of before I was doing this I like this better that's where I want to be and I think like what you said the big thing is what is making it that has to be relative that cannot be based off what your parents thought were your friends thought has to be based off of what you think making it is and making it to me became can I can I have my entire life funded by this instrument and that's it and and and then I had to think of what is that life that I want? Is it you know can I have this instrument provide ferraris, lamborghinis and mansions like that's a pretty rough goal, you know, but that wasn't my goal my goal was like, you know, two thousand one hundred civic one bedroom apartment not studio I want my own bedroom with the door and I want food and I want healthcare and that was it you know and that was making it to me and then somebody else that's obsessed you know, maybe grew up in mansions like to them keeping that lifestyle that their parents raised them and that's making it into some other peoples like man if I could just eat and sleep on somebody's floor with drums that's making it so making it is one hundred percent relative you have to decide that and I don't get to tell you what that is neither does matt neither do your parents or anybody in your life but you can decide this is what making it means to me and I'm gonna do everything it takes to make it and then and I think the end goal of that once again not trying to get to out there with it is happiness you know what? What is it that makes you happy and that's it because all of a sudden I had the life the tour buses that everything and there was zero happiness and I was thinking I would go back down to minimum wage just to be happy again just to be fulfilled you know and and for me teaching was that and so I think that's the other thing is what I want to talk about today is art has so many so many tangible aspects to it as faras careers and it's so funny to think like yeah right it's like dude look where you guys are sitting you were sitting in someone's artistic dream currently right now that's awesome we're broadcasting using somebody's artistic dreams so you can even create your own career I did mike's lessons dot com was a career that did not exist until I created there was nothing I could look at six years ago now and say live streaming educational content there was nothing for it and I was like but the chicago cubs were broadcasting their baseball game six years ago so I called the director and said how are you doing this? I'm going to do this for drum lessons and I created my own career so you could do that too but we'll also talk about tangible crews are already out there so yep exactly well really that's you teed it up perfectly um yeah absolutely. So when we were on our last clinic tour we stopped in los angeles at the musician's institute and we had one of the best clinics I think we've ever had together there was a fantastic environment the students were super enthusiastic and they were really um I think I was appreciative to be there I think they were too because they got some great information that day and I think for me the highlight was watching your presentation um because it's it really is practical ways to survive while being committed to your passion and believing in yourself, you know, and that's that's a hard thing to continue to do, but the more you do it, the better becomes sure having actual practical steps could help, so I think you should just give that presentation mmm, because it you can kill that it's amazing the reason teo, you know, technically, you know, crush it or kill it is because it's, really and so having tangible ways to actually make a living through art is is such a beautiful thing and it's so rare, you know, I think when you talk to artists, they always tell you things like, man, just don't give up it's like a dog I'm not given up, like, what is that that has nothing to do with me actually putting money into my pocket so that I can continue to do this? Or they'll say things like, well, you know, you just got to really dig deep like all this crap where it's like, shut up that can't be is that really your advice? Dig deep? Do you think I wasn't digging deep so that's I think there has to be something more tangible than that, so when I moved to a new town, I was scared out of my mind because there was a part of me you know I think that probably what you might be going through right now you really want to go back home to new orleans and be like yeah that didn't work out like that socks you know and I want it and I was so scared like okay I just quit my band that was you know not only was it my band it was my best friend I mean you know we didn't talk for six years after I quit because that's how much it rocked that relationship so I lost all my friends went to a new town and had to make it right away and did not want to come back to sacramento bee like that failed so there's ways to do it so I want to talk about that and then get you guys kind of on that journey of like women so I could actually start making a living with my art today that's a guess totally can you just but the one thing is when something is simple because I'm going to make this really simple for you please do not ever confuse that with being easy simple and easy or not even relative to each other simple just means it's not hard to understand easy means anyone could do it you will have to work your rear end off to make this work and that's what we'll kind of separate you from everybody else is I realized a long time ago with that, you know is telling you guys I struggled it drums I was really bad and I and I still am I mean, if you guys if you came up with something to teach bat night, he'd probably get in five minutes and I would have to go into my own room all by myself it would take me twenty five minutes, but when I was done, I'd be able to teach it to the entire world will be able to play it straight, I'd be able to swing it, I'd be able to play it quiet people play it loud, I would own it we get an a plus in that one thing you taught me, but that's the only way I know how to do things, so I just want to make sure when I'm gonna make this like all you got to do is do this. Okay? That's simple that does not mean it's easy, it will be hard, you'll have to work, you could never get around that. If I could get you guys around the work I'd be throwing out, get around work pills toe everybody like you don't have to practise broadcasting, you don't have to work on your speech, you don't even have to work on your style like you have great style, so but but that takes work that's it may be simple but it's not easy you gotta wake up on me like these boots don't deal with this but they go with this so let's get into it moved to a new town you've got to make a living so what do you play? You play bass so let's use you instead of using the drums so our goal is to get you a living so what would you say is a good is like a tangible living for you as far as like like give me a dollar amount just because I do because I don't live in seattle so I don't know cheese you mean like a monthly yeah what do you want? Just I mean just to be remotely happy me personally probably a thousand books months thousand bucks maybe fifteen hundred from feeling well let's let's give you fifteen hundred I think that's a good benchmark okay, so let's go with fifteen hundred dollars a month so you're a bass player living in seattle. Seattle has music stores so the first thing you do is get you a job in a music store on dh there's reasons for that not just for income. So what is the minimum wage around here? Yeah nine something is nine dollars okay, so let's let's give you nine dollars so at nine dollars a month let's see let's go calculator on this good nine dollars an hour sorry so I would not cut it now we're gonna have to what we're going to bring it up a little bit okay so let's give you a nine dollars an hour and we'll do let's say um so let's go with twenty hours a week is that cool? So nine times twenty we'll give you one hundred eighty times four okay, so we've got you seven twenty dollars a month right now know the reason why you need to work in a music store is because of gear was soon as you work at that music story you are now endorsed by everything you buy a music store discount is usually cost plus ten which is about fifty to sixty percent off of list that's the same exact endorsement you would get as an entry level endorsement if I if I signed you right now to g n l and d'addario strings and am peg amps as an entry level artist you get about fifty to sixty percent off well that's what you get by working in a music store so now everything that you're spending your money on anyways you're getting a discount on it, but you're also in the store that if anyone was rolling through town and was like dude, our bass player just got foot fungus like crazy he's at the e r at seattle general or whatever the heck your hospital is they're going to come to that music store can anyone play bass tonight? So now you're already in this kind of little loop of people that know your base guy. Every time they come in, you always help him up just right. You're the cool bass dude, and you demo the gear for everybody. Everyone knows you can play bass. The drum guys always like super cool. We should use him on our gig. So it puts you in this cool circle. Plus, you get to make seven hundred twenty dollars a month. So we have our seven. Twenty. Now we need more money, so we have to get to fifteen hundred. So let's give you some students, okay? Teaching is awesome. Because when you teach something, you it's, you will learn so much from it because there's things you can do on the base right now that you take for granted. And then when the students like okay, I want to learn that you have to now break it down. You have to make it tangible and break it up for them. And you think, oh, man, I never actually knew that it was this, but now I know I give lessons, and that happens all that, okay, so you're teaching yourself by teaching, so we're going to give you I'd say ten students a month so that that's only five hours of work so we had twenty hours of work which gave us seventeen, twenty dollars now we're going to be ten students a month which at half hour lessons is another five so right now you're working twenty five hours those ten students are going to be one hundred dollars apiece and since you play bass unlike us, you could teach anywhere because you have a volume knob we do not I can't teach this in an apartment but you can so ten students is a hundred bucks a pop, so that gives you another grand okay, so now you are at seventeen hundred twenty dollars a month and you work in twenty five hours a week, but we want more money because you know, you're getting greedy because you already surpassed her goal so let's put you into the gig situation so you have gigs with bands, creative gigs usually don't pay anything if anything, sometimes you have to even pay to play those things. Okay, so that doesn't count the real musician gig is like something that you're getting paid to do so jazz still pays you know why there's like eight people there that pays and then playing like two thousand people is like, yeah, you're going to pay us to do that that makes no sense to me but whatever so let's put you into like a couple of digging situations so you know whether it be wedding band or cover band or whatever um, you know, I'm thinking a normal gig and sacramento is about one hundred a night and I do you know, if he did one a week like on the weekends that gives you four hundred but it's seattle so we'll put it at one twenty five for a legit gig. Now the cool thing about a legit gig is that you might actually have to get better at your instrument to play these gigs because it's going to be the type of thing where they say, ah, you know let's just do a bossa and you're like what? And you you better know a bossa nova and then the next thing is like it's kind of like a reagan town feeling like I don't even know if you're speaking english and it's like yeah, you have to know all these things, so you're going to get much better your instrument which will benefit you down the road. So if we did four gigs a month at one hundred twenty five, that gives you another five hundred and we're at seventeen twenty so plus five hundred now those gigs I wouldn't even consider those workers they're goingto happen after hours anyways it's only on saturday nights or friday nights or whatever sunday at twenty two twenty which is good, too, because you have taken account student cancellations totally. You know, you you might not get a gig once a month. Taxes, you know. So I mean, it's good obviously go over like that. Oh, yeah, I know you. Yeah, we'll keep going, like, okay, and these air and I mean, we're at like I said, we're at twenty five hours of real work a week, but none of it is you working at starbucks. None of it is you working at target to make sure you play bass. This is all music stuff, and when you're at the music store, you can sit there and treat it like a job like the sox hate work or you will be like, I'm going to learn what behind this. And I'm going to open this up. I'm going to check out this manual and learn more about amps than anyone in the world. I'm going to find out when leo fender left fender to make g n l I'm gonna learn the history of everything, and you're just going to grow and grow and grow if you want to. Now this is where we leave that simple world. Behind and say okay, now we're into not easy, you can show up and it can be easy or you can show up and take advantage of everything around you. As soon as I walked in here, I was like, what kind of camera is that? How is that a feed from s o it's not hd my guys using okay and that's I don't understand like I wanted everything you know and that's how it should be if you're working in a music store, why would you not soak in everything around you? Why would you not go to a drummer and be like, hey, drummer guy, what do you want from your bass player? You know, because why did why did bass players always take lessons from basis that makes no sense? You can already play your instrument? You could take a lesson from a piano player and say, hey, when you get to the solo section, what do you wish I would do? Because I can play bass? I don't know what you want from me, so if I was in a music store, I would do that I would collect every ounce of information from around me and try to grow okay, so we've got you a twenty to twenty now getting into the studio scene of any city is one of the toughest things in the world yeah, okay cool that look that you just gave me was a hiss on its impossible by twenty times okay, I understand it is impossible and it's because it's a type tight, tight little network of musicians that on ly work with each other you're in a huge city like seattle huge music city they've already got their bass player they've already got their drummer's they're not going to hire you I would never accept that for an answer I would kick the door down so what you have to do is you go into the studio with your professional business card he spent eight dollars on and we already got two, seven hundred twenty dollars a month more than what you are hoping to make anyway so you can totally by business cards so you get your business card that says based technician go into the studio and say, hey, man, how's it going my name is ryan b have a last name to majority right that's a dope name I've been told yes that's going to work john smith might give him a gig ryan majora some bass yeah yeah I'm giving him a gig so ryan majority walks in he's like how's it going man you know I've heard a bunch of stuff come out of here and it's it's always been amazing I wanted to let you guys know that I'm a bass tech for fifty dollars I can come in and just dial in the bass sound to get exactly how you want this album because the better the bass sounds on this album that more people are gonna want to record the studio anyways and just kind of offer your services to help out start talking to local bands that came out whenever you record just call me I'll come into the studio with you and I will get your base in your rig dialed for the sound you want you give me the cd of your favorite bass sound ever I'll tell you how to get that sound for fifty bucks fifty bucks means nothing maybe it gives you another two hundred dollars a month to get you up into that three grand range but the whole reason to be there is so that when you're testing that base and playing deep deep pocket and you're getting the gray sound ever the producers like dude are you free on wednesday we have this arm be artists coming in and she doesn't have a bass player and now you're instantly into that world they know your name they how could they ever forget ryan majority I can't forget it if I tried so that name is stuck with them and then all of a sudden you just you have your name and so many little areas between the music store in your private students and knowing their parents and your gigs and now the studio it just happens over time it's like an a for effort where all of a sudden people just start to you know, say like how man, we really need a bass player on wednesday it's like, you know, when there's this guy that always texture rheiman george here's his card and all of a sudden the world is doing your advertising for you, it's just called organic marketing, where instead of paying for advertising and trying to make advertising happen, let the world advertise for you like that's the key you know is toe have that happening. So when you do that, it really starts to work because the one thing I would tell all of you guys is that you cannot control the talent of the person sitting next to you. You can't control how good somebody is ever, but I really do feel like you can outwork them always like I always think of like, you know, okay, it's midnight someone someone that is trying to take my job and everything must be going to sleep right now. I could put in another two hours and I know that sounds like a little obsessive, but if you feel like a man, I'm just I'm just not able to keep up talent wise, it's like, well, then out working you know, outwork him in every aspect you can stay up longer, you can try harder, you know? But I mean, all of a sudden it's like you now have a living in seattle, and the great thing about everything I just said is that it works even better in a small town like a super small town because there's, just less people teo kind of compete with but there is it's, not something where you have to be in l a or nashville or seattle to do it. I've done it in san luis obispo. I've done it in sacramento, I've done it in l a, you know, and and I've always come to those situations like we'll start from scratch, but I never, ever put all my eggs in one basket. I think that's the biggest problem is a lot of people that when I asked drummers like, what do you want to do? And they're like, I'm gonna be a studio drummer. Oh, my god, that's a lot of luck. Good luck, bro. Like you're putting everything into studio drumming or I'm gonna be I'm gonna get signed, okay? How are you gonna work yourself into getting signed? The best bands in the world never got signed. My band was horrible and we got a multi million dollar record deal like so I mean, I didn't even know it was happening like my guitar players like yeah, I think we're getting a deal it was like what's the deal I don't even know what that wass you know, so and the best band I was ever in with like a legitimate singer songwriter that I felt was ingenious we got nothing ever nothing couldn't get any label attention, whatever and I really felt like we're writing hits and then my band that we were just kids jumped a lot it was like yeah, here's a punch of money, so I realized like, okay, I can't count on this at all I have to be ableto I want to be working in things you can't so everything I've told you things that you control if you want a hundred dollar a month raise right now get one student and you just got a hundred dollar a month raise that is the coolest thing ever the manager at you no nordstroms can't do that you can't walk into your boss's office and be like I want another one of those hundred dollar a month raise things again do it today I could be like, man, I can literally just walk around this building to be like, dude, you interested in drum lessons at all and we could make a hundred dollars a month right there just by doing that. And so it's like it's. Just being able to do 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.

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