In a career as competitive as the music industry, succeeding can be very difficult. However, the best musicians learn how to persevere through the rough patches. Every musician will face rejection, but rejection is an obstacle that anyone can overcome.
Here are some tips to keep in mind to deal with failure before and after it happens.
1. Make a list of potential employers and agencies.
When you choose to audition for an orchestra or try to sign up for a record label, you have to have many options available. It’s like trying to apply for colleges in that you have your primary choice first and safety options as well in case your first choice doesn’t work out.
It would help to start with a list of any potential employers that are nearby where you live then expand the scope until you have a sizable list of places to apply for.
2. Keep playing through the mistakes.
Say you’re at an audition and while you’re playing for the interviewers, you can’t help but notice a mistake in your playing. It could be a tiny one, almost impossible to notice, or a loud mistake that everyone undoubtedly heard. While it’s tempting to stop and replay that particular part of the song, that will make things worse.
The best thing to do is to continue playing as if nothing happened so that you can pass it off as an intentional mistake and continue to look confident.
3. Use rejection as an opportunity to improve.
It is possible that, after the audition or sending in your tracks for a potential record label, you’ve been rejected. Hopefully, the employer or agency will explain why they could not accept you. If they don’t, you should ask them because knowing what you did wrong can be a guideline for what not to do next time.
Create a list of what potential employers thought could be fixed and work on fixing all the problems on that list of bad points.
In the path to becoming a successful musician, there will be unavoidable obstacles and the potential result of failure along the way. Don’t let that discourage you from continuing to try and pursue that musical career you’ve always dreamed of.
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Kevin Kwon is a recent graduate from UC Berkeley, currently 23 years old. He works in San Francisco and hopes to continue in the graduate studies regarding the field of psychology.