Successful professional musicians have many things in common

1. They are confident and adventurous enough to dive into their music careers headfirst.

This applies to musicians playing in an orchestra or playing gigs on weekends. There are countless stories of musicians not having any alternate plans for success. You don’t have to sleep in a car for weeks to be successful, but the fact that you’d be willing to says it all

2. They don’t mind doing things in addition to performing to make their living.

Most musicians don’t sign record labels, ever. There are some that do and become very wealthy, but most do not. Many musicians become teachers of private students or even group workshops because they have bills to pay between performances. It’s always okay to dream big, but if the only reason you want to be a musician is because you think it will make you rich, you’ll quickly get weeded out of this business.

3. They have a patient, persistent can-do attitude.

This might be the most important out of the entire list. A music career does not appear overnight, and especially not one in any of the arts. Instead of becoming preoccupied with trying to get a “big break,” the most successful musicians focus on growing their careers gradually.

4. They’re willing to work very hard on their craft every day.

No matter which type of musician you want to be, it’s essential to practice your craft every day. By doing this, you will continue to improve while others stagnate, eventually being better than most others at what you do. It is a very competitive musical world, so it’s important to be on top of your game always and be consistently raising the bar for yourself.  You will have to learn to really enjoy the process of improving and practicing as well.  If you don’t want to put in time to practice, then you will never become a professional musician.

Whether you are a fan of Ralph Moore, Willie Jones III or Terell Stafford, professional musicians all share these traits. If you are interested in learning more about these successful musicians, feel free to contact Kathy Salem!

Great Bands Require Great Teamwork

At Night is Alive, we recognize that one of the biggest elements of success in any band is to show respect for your band-mates. Great bands require great teamwork, which means that everyone can’t be the leader, but all have vital roles to play in the band’s success. Being willing to show up to rehearsals on time and in tune is one of the first steps to achieving band greatness.

You need to truly listen to the input of your other bandmates and then have one person in the band who is the executive decision maker. On a basketball team you wouldn’t have 3-point guards all calling out different plays; same goes for a band, pick a leader and they ultimately make game time plays. One person will be responsible for making the ultimate decision after listening to others’ input. These can be simple decisions like how long a song intro should go or more complex ones regarding the tempo or key that a song should be played in.

Everyone should have a chance to contribute ideas to improve the sound of the band and the quality of the performance. Everyone should be able to try ideas, especially during practice, that might result in a better sound.

All band members have critical support roles to the overall team success. It isn’t just the playing of the music that will determine the band’s ultimate destiny. Someone in the band also must be the booking agent and the collections/money distribution person. These aren’t always the same person in a band, but the band does have to agree on who will do these functions, since without a gig being booked none of the magical performances can ever happen.

A fantastic example of teamwork and band performance can be seen with Ralph Moore‘s West Coast Band and Willie Jones III‘s WJ3 All-Star Band. Both groups travel the world together, selling out venues and attracting their loyal fan bases. They never could have got to this level of jazz stardom if it wasn’t for their exceptional teamwork and communicating skills.

The Mind Behind Music

We all know based on our own anecdotal observations that musicians’ brains seem to function a little differently than everyone else’s. Well, it seems that research, in fact, does confirm that to be true. According to multiple studies, playing music has been found to increase the volume and activity in the brain’s corpus callosum — the bridge between the two hemispheres — allowing messages to get across the brain faster and through more diverse routes.

It is suspected that this is what allows musicians to solve problems more effectively and creatively than most other people. Playing music, it seems, is extremely beneficial to higher brain function. Playing an instrument involves almost every area of the brain at once — specifically the visual, auditory, and motor cortices. And, as with any other workout, we get stronger as we repeat the same workout exercising the same muscle or our brains.

Playing music also involves creating and understanding its emotional content and message.  Therefore, musicians also have higher levels of executive function — a category of interlinked tasks that include planningstrategizing, and attention to detail, and requires simultaneous analysis of both cognitive and emotional aspects. According to the Journal of American Medicine, most non-musicians do not generally have this combination of brain function.

Playing an instrument also has an impact on how our memory systems work. And, indeed, musicians exhibit enhanced memory functions — creating, storing, and retrieving memories more quickly and efficiently. Studies have found that musicians appear to use their highly connected brains to give each memory multiple tags, such as a conceptual tag, an emotional tag, an audio tag, and a contextual tag — like a good internet search engine. This allows them to do things like being able to recall entire pieces of music that they may not have played for many years. Doesn’t it seem like they have an entire library in their minds when you make a special request and they know it perfectly without looking at sheet music? Part of this is because of those emotional tags that they seem to effortlessly access “that library” at will.

When it comes to playing music and instruments, Night is Alive represents several of the jazz industries greatest. Learn more here and feel free to contact Kathy Salem with any questions you have!

Why is Image So Important for Musicians?

There have been studies that suggest how a musician presents themselves visually is more important than their music. If you are a musician reading this, you’re probably a bit conflicted; you know that your music is an important form of expression to you, but at the same time I am sure you’ve seen other musicians who may not have your same level of skill behind their instrument and yet they seem to garner a lot more attention.

“Image is everything”, is a truism in any medium where you are going to present yourself to an audience. Even artists like Sia, who work hard to hide themselves from view, have cultivated an image (although perhaps unwittingly) that appeals to their audience.

But hey, this shouldn’t be news to anyone. Nearly every musical artist we’ve ever fallen in love with has their visual and auditory game on par with one another. So then, how do you go about sowing a strong image and reaping the benefits?

First, understand who your audience is and then play up to that. Ever notice that grunge bands all sort of looked and sounded the same? Coincidence? Nah, not at all. It was a popular movement that was defined by flannel shirts and Dr. Martens as much as static guitars and raspy vocals. Take a moment, look at your audience and cultivate a look that’s in line with your music and their ears.

Second, jump right into social media. People want a back-stage pass to your life and you should deliver whenever appropriate. Let them peer in on your day-to-day goings on. Let them meet your pets, introduce them to your favorite coffee shop, give them a world-first listen to your new riff, etc. Leverage your image by letting people experience life through your eyes.

Third, never stop branding yourself. Once you get a few likes and follows, don’t stop there, keep pushing! In a world where everyone wants to, “go viral”, you must be ready for the long haul. 99.995% of people do not become viral sensations within days. You need to be ready to work for every like and build your social media audience over time.

Forth, start marrying your music to your image. Music videos are the obvious solution here. You don’t need to craft the next award-winning motion picture – keep it simple at the start. Work with other artists in the area who are looking for exposure and see if you can form a mutually beneficial relationship.

Once you start thinking of your image as your brand you’ll soon be making better choices about to cultivate and nurture a following through the visual mediums.

From Ralph Moore to Terell Stafford, Night is Alive represents some of the industries highest ranking artists to date. To learn more, contact Kathy Salem!