Successful Music Career? We listed 7 Skills you need to have!

What are the  7 Skills you need to have in order to build a Successful Music Career?

By Irma de Jong

Here we list the 7 main skills you need to possess in order to be successful in your music career, or better, in life! Most of these skills you will not have heard of while you were studying unless you have had the occasion to be inspired by your teacher. Ready to find out?

1. Curiosity

Music is, first of all, an expression of life, so be curious about the world around you. It's very important not to get stuck in your own little world. You spend a lot of time practising at home by yourself, so make sure to go out and meet people. Performing music can be done in various ways and many others have paved paths way before you. The internet provides you a perfect tool to see and watch what others do. They could inspire and bring you new ideas. Be curious also about different societies outside of the musical one. For example, it could be very helpful to see how profit businesses are taking care of their branding and what you can learn from it.

2. Patience

Be patient with the pots you put on the stove. Don't expect an egg to be boiled within 1 minute! If you start sowing give it time to grow. Your music career could be like a beautiful garden, but it takes time to sow, watering, maintaining and helping it flourish. Some seeds grow fast, others might take years before coming to fruition. Some things do not work at all. Then just try something else. The world has endless possibilities, you only need an eye to it.

3. Persistence

Be persistent. Never give up, until you have tried everything possible. Anything that happens can be turned into a good experience.  Does someone not answer you on the phone?  Try different times to reach the person. The contract you received is not to your satisfaction? Make a list of your demands and discuss it calmly with the organizer.   You want to organize a festival and have no funds to do so? Check online musicians that were successful, talk to them and learn from their experiences. In other words, never give up anything until you have reached and tried all possible resources.

4. Listener

How many people REALLY know how to listen to someone? Without own conversations in the head during the conversation? If you go out to network, it's important to know that before a new contact can grow and maintain, you must learn how to be a  cognitive and sensitive listener.  That means that you ask questions, show interest and bring awareness to what is communicated to you. Be interested, before you are becoming interesting!

Listener and communicator


5. Communicator

Be a good communicator. Should you meet someone for the first time and you have set an appointment with, let's say, a promoter, make sure to read about the person before you go. Through Linkedin and other social media means you can find out a lot which will help you through the conversation. Read about generation management. Understanding with what age/personality you deal, will help you to communicate effectively. Make sure not only to know how to have a conversation, but also how to write a good email message, or to make a productive phone call. And last but not least, if you learn how to speak in public, it's a great tool for your concerts. The audience loves artists that interact verbally with them on stage.

6. Open minded

Set your mind to openness. Don't get stuck in things you once learned, that might not work anymore. Our today's world is a rapidly changing one and the cause of this is the internet and its wide ocean of resources. Do you know for example how algorithms work and determine your social media life? It is not sufficient anymore to just use a tool, you must be aware of how it functions, to be able to use it to the fullest. Don't be lazy or too quickly satisfied. Use your brain in different ways. You'll find a bunch of online mindfulness guru's like for example John Assaraf, who teach you about how to set your brain in the right function. A lot of interesting stuff!

7. Creative

As a musician, you are already gifted with a lot of creativity. But do you really use it in an original way?

Think of creating new productions, possibly with cross-over media like video or speech. Find creative new ways to find and involve sponsors for your festival, event or concert. Search for exciting new venues to perform, outside of the regular concert halls. Stretch your own possibilities to the maximum: whether you teach, perform, coach, be part of an orchestra or ensemble, or involved in the process of finding the audience. It takes a lot of creativity to become a cultural music entrepreneur, and it's not impossible!

With my 25 years of experience as a cultural entrepreneur in the music business, I decided to build a course for those of you who are interested in developing themselves. It's an interactive self-management for musicians course, to EMPOWER yourself. In 22 tutorials I will teach you how to work on building your music career and to find more concerts.  You'll learn about branding, positioning and managing yourself. It takes 2 months and at the end of this course, you will have worked strongly on the 7 skills that you need for your career. I will personally guide you with feedback, tips and practice.

Who am I?

  • Artists and Project Manager
  • Owner of agency Cicerone Music & Art (this year 20th anniversary!)
  • Experience in the classical music field for more than 25 years
  • Collaborated with many renowned artists and orchestras
  • Project manager of violin competitions, exhibitions, events and music festivals
  • Producer of online high-quality music masterclasses
  • Researcher on social media and web communication

I invite you to take part in the online course self-management for musicians.  Sign up now!

To your success!

Irma de Jong